October 10

  

Today's Quotation:

Loving a child doesn't mean giving in to all his or her whims; to love the child is to bring out the best in him or her, to teach the child to love what is difficult.

  
Nadia Boulanger

Today's Meditation:

I'll never forget the time I saw a woman leave someone's house because her six-year-old son wanted to leave, and she didn't want him to start acting up.  I still remember thinking what an awful thing that mother was doing to allow the child to control her and manipulate her so.  She was acting on the urge to avoid conflict at all costs, and the child was learning that in order to get his way, all he had to do was present the threat of conflict.

As I look around and experience life "these days," it seems that many young people are learning this lesson.  I don't know if it's more than in the past, but I do know that it involves a lot of young people.  They're so used to getting their way that if they don't, they're almost at a loss-- they're not sure what to do, how to handle themselves.

If we want to bring out the best in kids, we need to help them understand limitations.  We need to help them to see that the fact that they want something doesn't always mean that they're going to get it.  And sometimes they may get it, but they may have to work for it.  In this way, kids learn how to deal with a variety of situations, and they don't learn just how to manipulate mom or dad-- a talent that usually will turn out to be quite useless out in the real world.

There's nothing wrong with doing things for kids or giving them things, of course.  But kids need to have a balance in their lives, and often they need to be told "no"-- and that's how they're going to learn some of the most important, most valuable lessons of their lives.  That's the only way they're going to learn about themselves and learn "to love what is difficult."  For it's only when we love the difficult that we're able to overcome the difficult on our own terms.

Questions to ponder:

1.  Why might parents feel it's best to avoid conflict with their kids?  Is it in the children's best interest to do so?

2.  What effects might pandering to a child's every whim have on that child?

3.  How difficult might it be for a kid who's always been given everything to adapt to a world that won't give him or her anything unless they work for it?

For further thought:

If you want your children to keep their feet on the ground, put some responsibility on their shoulders.

Abigail van Buren

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