This week the subject is parenting.
Like others, I’ve evaluated myself as a parent many times and come up short. I can look back and see where I could have done things better. My vision is clear looking back, but the problem with that is that it’s not changeable. I cannot have a “do over”, I cannot improve those faults of mine that I now so clearly see.
I’ve missed something. My vision is flawed.
I was so busy looking back that I forgot to look in front of me.
I forget that the adults now creating their own lives are the yardstick that truly measures our parenting success. We raised wonderful sons: independent, confident, steady, hard-working, and caring; our sons make us proud to be their parents.
Unspoken, and unrehearsed, half of the foundation for our parenting style hung on a wall, a reminder to us and to our sons (those who spent time with us) of what could and should be. I’ve thought about this often, so I pulled it out of the storage recesses to share:
Children Learn What They Live
If a child lives with
CRITICISM, he learns
to CONDEMN. If a
child lives with HOSTILITY,
he learns to FIGHT. If a child lives with RIDICULE,
he learns to be SHY. If a child lives with SHAME, he
learns to FEEL GUILTY. If a child lives with
TOLERANCE, he learns to be PATIENT. If a child
lives with ENCOURAGEMENT, he learns to
be CONFIDENT. If a child lives with PRAISE,
he learns to APPRECIATE. If a child lives with
FAIRNESS, he learns JUSTICE. If a child lives
with SECURITY, he learns to have FAITH. If
a child lives with APPROVAL, he learns to
LIKE HIMSELF. If a child
lives with ACCEPTANCE
and FRIENDSHIP, he learns
to find LOVE in the world.
Dorothy Law Nolte, PH.D.
Perfection is not mentioned and I think there’s a good reason: there is room for error, room to learn, and room to grow. No child should feel that they have to be perfect.
Comparatively, this poem is not perfect: it’s missing a vital piece. What is missing from the poem is respect, something that I equate with honor. Children should be raised to know that they are to respect and honor their parents.
Respect, honor, for parents should be expected from children and must be supported by all involved parties – especially when there are more than two child-rearing persons involved.
Leave your resentments and arguments and differences aside and unite on the issue of respect; show each child-rearing party the respect that is due, then teach the children that respect is an expectation.
There you have it. I feel better now. :)