May 16      

Today's quotation:

If I had my child to raise all over again,
I'd build self-esteem first, and the house later.
I'd finger-paint more, and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I'd take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I'd take more hikes and fly more kites.
I'd stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I'd do more hugging and less tugging.

Diane Loomans
"If I Had My Child To Raise Over Again"

Today's Meditation:

It's hard being a parent for most of us.  We have to balance our own lives with the lives of our children; our own wants and needs with those of the kids; ways that we think things should be done with ways that our children want to do things.  We have to make priorities-- and most of us prioritize the jobs first because, after all, we need to pay for the home and the food and the clothes and all the other things necessary to maintain a family, don't we?

How we treat our children, how we interact with them, the relationships that we build with them-- those are going to be some of the most important aspects of their lives when they grow to be adults themselves.  We want to instill discipline, but do we want to do so at the cost of never having fun?  We want them to learn all that they can, but should we do so at the cost of having free time to share with them, being creative and perhaps even silly?  Should we spend the extra hours at the office, or spend them at our kid's basketball game?

Parenting is a matter of making choices-- as is almost everything else in life.  And many of the choices that we make for their "benefit" actually end up making them feel less positive about themselves, less able to face the world on their own terms because we're forcing them to adopt our terms.

It's important that we take our parenting seriously, but not too seriously.  They're kids, after all, and they need our love and support much more than they need our correction and criticism.  So many of us, though, focus on the latter, while if we were to focus on the former, our kids could face this world with the knowledge that there's someone there to support them if they fall, and they'll be more willing and able to take the risks they need to take.

Questions to consider:

Why do most of us try to control our children so much instead of allowing them to grow up to be the people they're meant to be?

From where do we get the idea that our children need to be similar to us as people?

What do you think would happen if all children were allowed to grow into the people they were meant to be, instead of the people their parents think they should be?

For further thought:

Your responsibility as a parent is not as great as you might imagine.  You need not supply the world with the next conqueror of disease or major motion-picture star.  If your child simply grows up to be someone who does not use the word "collectible" as a noun, you can consider yourself an unqualified success.

Fran Lebowitz
"Parental Guidance"

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