After taking some time to think about the CHAOS I've endured at work the past month, I’ve decided to dedicate this blog to the parents… Yep, ALL THE PARENTS! This is for the good ones who delight in their children and over-invest themselves at times and the bad ones who just leave the child-rearing to the television until all hell breaks loose and everyone else is to blame...
I’m a young parent, and perhaps you've done this longer and better than I have… but, as you probably guessed, I will speak on it anyway. One thing is certain. Parents aren’t teaching respect, kindness, and honesty to their children nor do they observe it in their own lives... and half of teaching is being the example.
If you noticed, I titled this "Parenting Blog #1" which means there will be more to follow... but for now here are a few guidelines I try to observe when raising my own children and when nurturing my students:
- Kids come first, but only some of the time. You do realize that one day they’re going to get up and leave you, right? That’s what they’re supposed to do! So you can’t pour ALL of yourself into them. Of course small children need much more attention, but even they can learn to sit still and talk to God quietly for a few minutes so you can have a few moments of peace. (SB: Yes, God really comes first. And if you're married, your hubby should be second... yep, he comes before the kiddos even if he acts like one of them. After all, you picked him.)
- You know your child best. You carried them, you watched them grow, and over time you were able to identify their gifts and challenges. Play to their strengths and teach them how to overcome their challenges. Perfection is NOT the objective, but excellence is key. My daughter loves to use lots of different colors in her artwork, and while I’d never discourage that, I do want her to stay inside the lines. Am I limiting her creativity? Not at all… I’m teaching her that she can be creative within the boundaries that she's given. We're not going to create mess and call it a masterpiece.
- You don’t know your child half as much as you think you do. If you've ever said "Oh, my child would NEVER do that" chances are your child DID do it and KNEW you wouldn't believe it. As children grow, they become masterful at manipulation and deceit, but we have to make it hard for them to succeed. You can pour all of your self into them, and they could still disappoint. If someone tells you something unpleasant about your child, consider the source and the possibility before becoming defensive.
- Right is right. If your child is right in an ugly situation, defend them.
- Wrong is wrong. If your child is wrong in an ugly situation, defend them, then discipline them. The "hell-naw-you're-not-about-to-embarrass-me-like-that" speech is always a good one.
- Divide and conquer. Most situations aren't black and white. Usually there's a mixture of feelings, perceptions, and miscommunications involved, BUT it's our job to help our children sort it all out. Children don't have all the skills they need to make the right decision every time, but they need to learn them. Start with respect and kindness because they are always RIGHT.
- Life is not a Disney movie. It is my firm belief that Disney screws us all up and makes us think we can do and be anything we want. While that sounds nice and gives us warm fuzzies, I don't want a doctor who can't do basic math... and let's face it, not all of us are good at math. While I enjoy Finding Nemo and Tinkerbell as much as the next mommy (*sarcasm here*), I need to steer my kids in the direction where they are gifted. Most children have many interests, but are only good at a handful of things. Wherever you find their talents and giftings is where your child will be most confident, and confidence brings success.
- The other parent can do the job, too. Moms can be so critical of dads. I know I am at times... but when I disagree with something my childrens' father has done, I talk bad about him to God, then he and I discuss it. (...nasty IM ensuing...) In many ways neither one of us is right or wrong. Just a few days ago, he called to tell me that the five-year old had to write sentences for talking in class. I could hear her sobbing in the background because I had warned her that she would be punished if it happened again. Since it was his weekend, I thanked him for calling and asked him to tell her that I wasn't mad. Then I told him I felt it would be best that he handle the situation since she was with him. What a big step for me! Normally, I'd threaten to tighten up her behind when she came back home two days later... but what good would that really do? I would forget, she wouldn't, and then I'd be a pushover. (Note: It's better to be the bad guy than a pushover.)
- Your child is you. You ever look at your kids and wonder if you were as goofy, silly, and obnoxious as they are? The answer is YES! Go ask your parents! My son, at seven, has the same exact fears I had at seven. Briana gets in trouble for talking just like her dad did. It's undeniable, so be understanding. Consider what your parents did to raise you, and apply it if it worked. Dismiss it if it didn't.
- Be creative, patient, and affectionate in your child-rearing. What more is there to say?
My one little blog won't change every parents' approach to raising kids, but I hope that you will at least, being the perfect parent that you are, pass this on to someone else who is less gifted than you. (I will be soooo ticked if someone sends this to me.)
After all, those of us who are a little touched, i.e. krazy, need a little help from time to time.