mothers - fathers

Parenthood. . . It's about guiding
the next generation,
and forgiving the last.

Peter Krause

 

Nothing has a stronger influence psychologically on their environment, and especially on their children, than the unlived life of the parents.

Carl Jung

     
Through the blur, I wondered if I was alone or if other parents felt the same way I did--that everything involving our children was painful in some way.  The emotions, whether they were joy, sorrow, love or pride, were so deep and sharp that in the end they left you raw, exposed and yes, in pain.  The human heart was not designed to beat outside the human body and yet, each child represented just that--a parent's heart bared, beating forever outside its chest.

Debra Ginsberg
   

Of course, everyone's parents are embarrassing.  It goes with the territory.  The nature of parents is to embarrass merely by existing, just as it is the nature of children of a certain age to cringe with embarrassment, shame, and mortification should their parents so much as speak to them on the street.

Neil Gaiman
Anansi Boys

   
We realized that the version of the world they rendered for us was not the version of the world they really believed in.

Jeffrey Eugenides
The Virgin Suicides
  
Parents can only give good advice or put children on the right paths, but the final forming of a person's character lies in his or her own hands.

Anne Frank

  

All parents damage their children.  It cannot be helped.  Youth,
like pristine glass, absorbs the prints of its handlers.  Some parents
smudge, others crack, a few shatter childhoods completely
into jagged little pieces, beyond repair.

Mitch Albom

The Five People You Meet in Heaven

   

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The job of every generation is to discover the flaws of the one
that came before it.  That's part of growing up, figuring out all the
ways your parents and their friends are broken.

Justine Larbalestier
Zombies Vs. Unicorns

   

Avoid providing material for the drama that is always stretched
tight between parents and children; it uses up much of the childrenís
strength and wastes the love of the elders, which acts and warms
even if it doesnít comprehend.  Donít ask for advice from them and
donít expect any understanding; but believe in a love that is being
stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this
love there is strength and blessing so large that you can travel
as far as you wish without having to step outside it.

Rainer Maria Rilke
Letters to a Young Poet

    

No matter how far we come, our parents are always in us.

Brad Meltzer
The Inner Circle

    
Our parents can show us a lot of things: they can show us how we are
to be and what things we ought to strive for, or they can show us how
not to be and what things we ought to stray from, then you may have
the kind of parents that show you all the things about you that you want
to get rid of and you realize those traits aren't yours at all but are merely
your parents' marks that have rubbed off onto you.

C. JoyBell C
   

You don't really understand human nature unless you know why a child
on a merry-go-round will wave at his or her parents every time around--
and why the parents will always wave back.

William D. Tammeus

   
If you have one parent who loves you, even if they can't buy you clothes, they're so poor and they make all kinds of mistakes and maybe sometimes they even give you awful advice, but never for one moment do you doubt their love for you--if you have this, you have incredibly good fortune.

If you have two parents who love you? You have won life's Lotto.

If you do not have parents, or if the parents you have are so broken and so, frankly, terrible that they are no improvement over nothing, this is fine.

It's not ideal because it's harder without adults who love you more than they love themselves. But harder is just harder, that's all.

Augusten Burroughs
This Is How
   

   
It's not only children who grow.  Parents do too. As much as
we watch to see what our children do with their lives, they
are watching us to see what we do with ours.  I can't tell my
children to reach for the sun.  All I can do is reach for it, myself.

Joyce Maynard
   

Parents often talk about the younger generation as if
they didn't have anything to do with it.

Haim Ginott

    

Parents who have never apologized to their children are monsters.
If they're always apologizing, their children are monsters.

Mignon McLaughlin
The Second Neurotic's Notebook

   

  
As parents, we guide by our unspoken example. It is only when
we're talking to them that our kids aren't listening.

Robert Brault
  

The guys who fear becoming fathers don't understand that fathering is
not something perfect men do, but something that perfects the man.
The end product of child raising is not the child but the parent.

Frank Pittman
Man Enough

   

Whenever I held my newborn baby in my arms, I used to think that
what I said and did to him could have an influence not only on him but
on all whom he met, not only for a day or a month or a year, but for
all eternity--a very challenging and exciting thought for a mother.

Rose Kennedy

   
Remember the times you were sick with a fever when you were a little boy or girl?  Remember how awful it felt to be so sick?  But then your mother or father, or perhaps a grandparent, would put their hand on your burning forehead and it felt so wonderful.  You could feel the nectar of love in their hand, and that was enough to comfort and reassure you. Just knowing they were there, beside you, brought relief.  If you do not live close to your mother anymore, or if your mother is no longer present in her usual bodily form, you have to look deeply to see that she is in fact always with you.  You carry your mother in every cell of your body.  Her hand is still in your hand.  If your parents have already passed away and you practice looking deeply like this, you can have an even closer relationship with your parents than that of someone whose parents are still alive but who cannot communicate easily with them.

You may like to take a moment now to look at your hand.  Can you see your motherís hand in your hand?  Or your fatherís?  Look deeply into your hand.  With this insight, and with all the love and care of your parents, bring your hand up to your forehead and feel the hand of your mother or father touching your forehead.  Allow yourself to be cared for by your parents in you.  They are always with you.

Thich Nhat Hanh
The Art of Living
  

   
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"
 

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"

   
If I Had to Do It All Over Again (Parenting)
Zig Ziglar

This question is frequently asked of people after they've reached a certain age.  One unknown father came up with some answers I believe have a lot of merit:

1.  "I would love my wife more in front of my children."  That is, he would speak more words of affection, hold her hand more, put his arm around her more, and hug her more.

2.  "I would laugh with my children more at our mistakes and joys."  Laughter breeds happiness, and a happy home has far fewer problems.

3.  "I would listen more, even to the smallest child."  It is amazing what little ones can teach us as the pearls of wisdom often come tumbling out.

4.  "I would be more honest about my own weaknesses and stop pretending perfection."  Kids know we are not perfect, and it's comforting to know we can acknowledge our humanness.

5.  "I would pray differently for my family.  Instead of focusing on them, I'd focus on me."  After all, that's where it really starts.

6.  "I would do more things together with my children."  We repeatedly hear about fathers who get too busy to spend precious moments walking, talking, playing, shopping, fishing, and cycling with their children.  That's where bonding takes place.

7.  "I would be more encouraging and bestow more praise."  It is said that encouragement is the fuel of hope, and praise, particularly for effort, brings about even more effort in the future.

8.  "When I made a mistake in the way I dealt with my children, I would admit it and ask them to forgive me."

9.  "I would pay more attention to little things, deeds and words of love and kindness."  When you add up all those little things over a lifetime, they make a huge difference.

10.  "I would share God more intimately with my family through ordinary things that happen in a day."

This unknown father has some marvelous lessons for us.  Take his approach, and you will have a happier, more fulfilled life as a parent.

~from his book, Staying Up, Up, Up in a Down, Down World
   
Parents must provide not only outer warmth for their child
but also inner warmth.  They must create an atmosphere with
a sense of security in which the child feels love and acceptance.

the Dalai Lama
   

As parents, we want to protect our children against all the suffering
and injustices of life.  This is impossible, of course.  But what we can
do is create an environment where children are physically, emotionally,
and spiritually secure.  And we will succeed in protecting them all the
better if we accept the fact that all the children of the world
are our very own responsibility.

Judy Ford

   

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I get so sick and tired of hearing people gripe about what their parents
did to them.  You know what your parents did to you?  The best thing
they could do.  The best thing they knew how, the only thing in many
cases that they knew how.  Nobody has set out maliciously
to hurt their child, unless they were psychotic.

Leo Buscaglia
Living, Loving, and Learning

  

Children are naturally inquisitive and love to try new things.  But they
cannot find these things by themselves; someone must offer them the
choices.  Years ago, when the Quiz Kids were astonishing American
radio audiences with their brilliance, a writer set out to discover what
common denominators there were in the backgrounds of these extraordinary
children.  He found that some were from poor families, some from rich;
some had been to superior schools, some had not.
   But, in every case investigated, there was one parent, sometimes two, who
shared enthusiasms with the child, who watched for areas of interest, who
gave encouragement and praise for achievement, who made a game of
searching out the answers to questions, who went out of the way to supply
the tools of learning.  No doubt the capacity for outstanding performance
was already there, but it took the love and interest and
companionship of a parent to bring it out.

Arthur Gordon
A Touch of Wonder

  

As parents, we must be convinced of our beliefs.  We must know
where we stand, so that our children will know where they stand.

Kim Boyce

    

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Wanting what's best for your kids is all about the child. It's
about helping them find something they are passionate about
so they are intrinsically driven to reveal the strengths that
God gave them, whether in art, music, sports, writing,
academics, or community service.
   Wanting them to be the best is all about me. My expectations.
My fears. So I yell at them from the stands, correct them after
lessons, and coax them into activities that suck the fun out of
childhood. And in the process, I teach them that their worth is
wrapped up in how they perform. I teach them that second
place is losing. I teach them that judgment is more
important than love and acceptance.
    And it is so wrong.

Scott Dannemiller
  

Parents are often so busy with the physical rearing of children
that they miss the glory of parenthood, just as the grandeur
of the trees is lost when raking leaves.

Marcelene Cox

   

In the giving of help, a parent experiences one of the best feelings that any of us can have:  that life has meaning because we are needed by someone else.  Watching a baby grow with our help tells us other things we like to feel about ourselves:  that we are competent and loving.

If the day ever came when we were able to accept ourselves and our children exactly as we and they are, then, I believe, we would have come very close to an ultimate understanding of what "good" parenting means.  It's a part of being human to fall short of that total acceptance--and often far short.  But one of the most important gifts a parent can give a child is the gift of accepting that child's uniqueness.

Fred Rogers
The World According to Mr. Rogers

As parents, we need to try to find the security within ourselves to accept the fact that children and parents won't always like each other's actions, that there will be times when parents and children won't be able to be friends, and that there will be times of real anger in families.  But we need to know, at the same time, that moments of conflict have nothing to do with whether parents and children really love one another.  It's our continuing love for our children that makes us want them to become all they can be, capable of making sound choices.

   
How would I have turned out, I sometimes wonder, had I grown up
in a house that stifled enterprise by imposing harsh and senseless
discipline?  Or in an atmosphere of overindulgence, in a household
where there were no rules, no boundaries drawn?  My mother
certainly understood the importance of discipline, but she always
explained why some things were not allowed.
Above all, she tried to be fair and consistent.

Jane Goodall
  

When you have children, you realize how easy it is to not see them fully,
and perhaps miss all those early years.  If you are not careful, you can
be too absorbed in work, and they will be only too happy to tell you about
it later.  Being a parent is one of the greatest mindfulness practices of all.

Jon Kabat-Zinn

   

Childrearing is above all an ethical responsibility.

Steven Pinker

   
I remember one time when I was in London, doing walking meditation
along the street, and I saw a book displayed in a bookshop window
with the title My Mother, Myself.  I didnít buy the book because I felt
I already knew what was inside.  Itís true that each one of us is a
continuation of our mother; we are our mother.  And so whenever we
are angry at our mother or father, we are also being angry at ourselves.
Whatever we do, our parents are doing it with us.  This may be hard to
accept, but itís the truth.  We canít say we donít want to have anything
to do with our parents.  They are in us, and we are in them.  We are the
continuation of all our ancestors.  Thanks to impermanence, we have
a chance to transform our inheritance in a beautiful direction.

Thich Nhat Hanh
The Art of Living
   

Given my personal history and my work, I've always parented with the
belief that love and belonging are the ground zero of wholehearted
parenting.  If they know they are loved and lovable, if they know how
to love, and if they know that no matter what, they belong at home,
everything else will work out.  However, as they got older and peer
groups became more important, it was easier than I imagined to slip
back into subtly teaching them how to fit in or do whatever it takes to
find a crew.  My own fear set a default of "Well, what is everyone
wearing?" or "Why weren't you invited to the sleepover--what's
wrong?"  I have to stay constantly mindful to practice what I believe
as a parent and not let fear take over when my kids are hurting.

Brenť Brown
Braving the Wilderness

  

    

Found online:
 

 
(Found online images come from a variety of unattributed
sources from various social media pages.  They're too nice
not to share!)

   

Nogglz
This novel was written as a tribute to my mother and the town she grew up in--Crested Butte, Colorado, a mountain coal mining town.  The town of her youth bore no resemblance to the CB of today, though, and the town that I visited when I was young was filled with run-down houses and buildings.  It was a dying mining town until it was turned into a ski resort, and the town of the novel is an idea of what it might have become with a few more decades of neglect, when a trio of creatures escapes from a sealed-off mine intent on exacting revenge upon the people of the town.  They've been living in the mine and caverns for sixty years, and they're really, really angry.
A horror novel on this kind of website?  Of course, because reading can be fun, too.  It's not a gore-fest (I really do dislike those), but more a study of how people react to adversity, and how the sins of our fathers sometimes do come back to haunt us many, many years later.
$2.99 on Kindle.

    
     

      

I received a letter from a parent who wrote:  "Mister Rogers, how do you do it?  I wish I were like you.  I want to be patient and quiet and even-tempered, and always speak respectfully to my children.  But that just isn't my personality.  I often lose my patience and even scream at my children.  I want to change from an impatient person into a patient person, from an angry person into a gentle one."

Just as it takes time for children to understand what real love is, it takes time for parents to understand that being always patient, quiet, even-tempered, and respectful isn't necessarily what "good" parents are.  In fact, parents help children by expressing a wide range of feelings--including appropriate anger.  All children need to see that the adults in their lives can feel anger and not hurt themselves or anyone else when they feel that way.


Fred Rogers
The World According to Mr. Rogers

     

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