Thursday, December 9, 2010

Because we LOVE them and Need them to Succeed . . .

So, I found one parallel or common denominator if you will, that spans the length and breadth of the globe; and exists amongst every parent or care giver in every race, of every continent and every nation throughout history.  This parallel is the immense love they have for their children and their compelling desires to have those children succeed. We all want the very best for our children irrespective of our race, social status, and culture. We all want our children to emerge as very successful adults who would be able to contribute their quota to better the world.

This holds true for every parent that I have personally encountered without exception. No parent ever envisioned their child's grand arraignment in a court of law for assault and battery charges, or for armed robbery charges; rather, they imagine their child walking up to the podium to accept their degrees within their various field of endeavors while they stand and cheer them along with the rest of the crowd. (Yes we all do)!

The reality of our times is that most our children are not turning out the way that we envisioned. The question becomes whether it is our children who are failing us or rather, whether we the parents/care givers are failing our children. I regret the position that I am about to take on this topic, but I'd rather speak from a place of truth in my heart. I believe that it may be in fact us not trying our hardest! In taking this position, I must concede that I strongly believe that raising a child/children the proper way may very well be the most difficult job in the world.

Ever spoken to a stay-at-home parent? They are the hardest working people that I personally know. The fact that it is extremely difficult to raise children does not mean that we should become hopeless and not continue working the hardest we can when it comes to our children. Children are exposed to so much these days; the Television, internet, school environment, home environment. etc. They learn from us constantly. They watch every little word that comes out of our mouth; every little action that we take; in fact, they copy us so much, it is almost frightening. I was watching my 16 month old today and cannot believe how much she has learnt in such a short period of time from us (her home environment).

There are four things that I know for sure regarding raising children that worked for me as the child ( I am sure it worked for my parents too) and still is working for me as the mother of the four children that I am today. I am one of a billion other mothers in the world who is embroiled in the enormous challenge of raising my children "the proper way" in order for them to become responsible and successful adults.

Check out my four convictions as it relates to raising our children:

1. Children Learn What they Live- Yep!, Dorothy Law Nolte spoke these words in her poem. This poem was a fixture on the wall of our living room when I was a child. My father, who still remains my greatest inspiration would always come home with posters/frames of poem that really were lessons for life. Daddy will make us (the children) learn these poems because he believed that they taught valuable life lessons. When you understand them, and commit to them to memory, you recite them to daddy and he will give you a prize. I believe that the words of this poem are “wisdom” in probably its fullest manifestation.  I mean it!

I recommend to every parent/caregiver to get a copy and have it affixed to their bedroom wall or any other place where they are constantly reminded of those words. It is not so much for the child but for the adults who pave the way and creates the environment in which the child lives. Ever notice this? Every classroom in every continent or every culture always has those few children who are extremely confident and tend to excel better than the rest of the students. Most of them are products of very encouraging family environments. Their confidence level usually impacts almost every one of their endeavors.  On the hand, these same classrooms have the kids who are constantly fighting other kids and are always in the middle of every problem in the classroom. A closer inquiry usually reveal a not so great or hostile family environment where fighting is the norm.

2. Children Need to be Shown Unequivocal Love Tampered with a Reasonable Degree of Firmness - If we do not show our children that they are loved unconditionally by us who are their parents and care givers, they loose confidence and seek out love elsewhere. By love, I do not advocate giving a child all that him /her requests. Indeed, I strongly believe that the word " NO" may be one of the best vocabulary in the dictionary of proper child rearing. (If there is anything like that). When a child is used to getting everything they demand from us, they develop that pitiful feeling of entitlement and become little brats (excuse my language!). When your child know that they may not get everything that they demand from you, they are less likely to be adults who feel disillusioned when things do not go as they expected. They develop better coping skills and turn out as well adjusted adults.  A child need to understand that he/she does not always have to get his way because there is other peoples’ interest at stake in every issue encountered in life, not just his.

3. Children Do not Need Privacy AT ALL; Teenagers Need Some Privacy - I have seen parents argue that they need to give their children some privacy . . . , I always watch them with the "are you kidding me" expression on my face! My point is that in order for us to be effective parents/adult care givers who want the best for our children, we must totally eliminate the concept of privacy for our children from our brains. What Nonsense privacy!!!!

We must know who their friends are; where they go on the internet; what they are doing in their room; who they are speaking to on their phones; etc. The minute we ignore these, it becomes easy for our children to slide down that really slippery slope. The world is not made up of just our individual families. We may be doing our part at home, but there is no way of predicting what goes on in other families where parents are not even doing their part at all.

As for Teenagers,  . .  . Yes, . .  . They need some privacy, but, it should not be a case of unfettered privacy. I may have taken this position because I constantly see mothers especially, who are balling out their eyes in court because their teenage sons who are facing really serious jail time as a result of crimes that they are accused of. They are convinced that their child is the good one but that the influences of bad friends may have caused their child to engage in criminal conducts. It is really hear-breaking for me, Really!  If we as parents put our feet down and say to our teenage children, "I do not want you hanging out with this kid, and if you continue doing that, you may have to give up your laptop (or their most valued possession) or, You are not going to that party sweetheart, and I am done talking about it". etc.  It may be an effective deterrent. Giving these children and teenagers their privacy almost always results in parents who are caught totally unawares!

4. Devoting Time Together in Prayer and other Activities, Results in Better Children and Adults - The more time we invest in our children, the better the return we get out of them. Prayer is the most effective way of ensuring that our children are truly guided by the principles of morality. They are able to grow up with a conscience that is constantly alert to right and wrong. Finally, the prayers of children are especially effective because they pray from a heart that pure.

Is is hard to apply these principles? YAH! Extremely hard! But, we must all strive to apply them "Because we LOVE them and need them to succeed"


No comments:

Post a Comment