A father of twin boys commented that he wanted to raise his “kids to be tough.” He said, “If they fall, I want them to get right back up. I want them to respect other people, but stand up for themselves. I want them to dream big and work hard.” In other words, he wants his children to become resilient, respectful, self-assured, and creative young men with a strong work ethic.
It seems that most loving parents want the same things for their children. We want them to have better opportunities and healthier options than we did; to build strong relationships without losing their authenticity in the process; to have a healthy sense of self-worth, express all their gifts and actualize their fullest potential; to experience inner fulfillment, independent of whatever “highs” or “lows” life might bring their way.
How do we create an outline for all this? How do we raise bright, loving, compassionate, thoughtful, creative and engaged children? How do we give them everything they need without creating a sense of entitlement? How do we equip them to thrive in a changing world with much uncertainty? How do we motivate them without living our lives through them?
First, we have to recognize that there is no simple equation, system, or set of rules for raising our children. We will have to let go of the “should haves” and what we are “supposed” to do.
We cannot simply have a talk when things have gone drastically wrong. There are no “once and done” lectures to be given, but rather a line of communication that remains open with plenty of opportunities to share thoughts and feelings each day.
There is no perfectly, prescribed program to follow; we have to each determine our own unique way.
Children learn through our example, our actions, our words and our beliefs. Author and Educator Neil Postman once said, "Children are the living messages we send into a time we will not see."
I guess we have to ask ourselves, what messages do we want to send our children out into the world with?