Thursday, January 20, 2011

Clover Lane excerpt

I  love this woman and I don't even know her! Her attitude towards parenting and "old-fashioned" parenting is exactly what I hope to give my children. Her take on parenting is pretty much exactly how my parents raised me and something that I couldn't clearly appreciate until I took a big step to be out on my own by joining the Navy. It took three days in boot camp for me to realize my folks did it right and for me to be thankful they raised me how they did. I bet you have TONS of examples of how a younger generation (including my own) can't stand on their own too feet without their hand being held, and it isn't the child's fault, it is the fault of our own. The learning process starts young and we have to work as parents to not be lazy in our own examples if we plan on teaching our children anything. From what I can remember.... you always get more satisfaction from doing "the things you don't want to do" than from taking the easier road out. 
Erma Bombeck said it best:
 "I loved you enough to ask about where you were going, with whom and what time you would get home
I loved you enough to insist that you buy a bike, that we could afford to give you, with your own money
I loved you enough to make you return a Milky-Way— with a bite out of it—to the drug store and to confess “I stole this
I loved you enough to stand over you for two hours while you cleaned your room, a job that would have taken me 15 minutes
I loved you enough to let you see anger, disappointment, disgust and tears in my eyes
I loved you enough to admit I was wrong and ask for your forgiveness
I loved you enough to let you stumble, fall and hurt
But most of all, I loved you enough to say NO when you hated me for it. That was the hardest part of all!"

Below I have included some of her post and please feel free to go HERE at Memories on Clover Lane to read the rest!

It is hard right now for so many different reasons, to not constantly rescue, coddle, and over-manage our children's lives.  To save them from strive and troubles, to interfere in and solve their problems, to make everything easier and better for them.  To give them what they want, because we can.  Or to give them what they need, because we can.

But that is a big fat unvalid excuse, so it doesn't fly with me.

I have been realizing more and more, that our job as parents change drastically over the years.  When we have babies and toddlers, we should be doing everything possible to make their world warm and comfortable, keep them well fed, and raise them in an environment that promotes their development. 

I think that our job gradually changes as they grow from children to pre-teens to teenagers, from making their life as easy and comfortable and "right" as possible, to making it as difficult as real life can be.

Difficult as in snow shoveling.
Difficult as in piano practicing (or any practicing) for one more hour than you really want to.
Difficult as in working hard for most if not all of their wants and certainly some of their needs.
Difficult as in you will have to tolerate the crabby teacher all year, I won't jump in and save you.
Difficult as in if you forgot your coat twice, looks like you might remember it only when you are cold enough.
Difficult as in "take the bus".
Difficult as in as hard as it is, I will let you make that mistake, forget that homework, or feel that pain.  I will stand back and watch you become frustrated, tired, sorry, or sad. and not rescue you.

As they grow older, I find I need to teach them survival skills...and not just the Boy Scout kind...the kind where you learn that life isn't about having all your needs met all the time.  That life is uncomfortable, and requires hard work.  That lots of time in your life will be spent "doing something you don't want to do"...and that it might be years and years before you see the rewards of that.  They might need to learn that searching out others who have the same philosophy will greatly aide their psyche, and just the opposite...they will have to resist the temptation of those who seem to be getting rewards for taking the easy way out, and trust us when we tell them that it almost never turns out good, even if it takes a lifetime of trust before they see it with their own eyes.

It's so much easier to make my child's life easier.  It really is, and more so as they grow older.  I can say yes so much easier than no, and not only feel happy because my child is happy, but avoid the fallout of insisting that they do something they don't want to do" produces.  But I am failing them terribly when I do this. It's a form of instant gratification and when I'm leading by example what an awful thing to teach.  I am not forming the most important qualities that will lead to their lifetime happiness, I'm only rewarding behavior that will lead to misery.  Their misery, and for me, misery also...regret that I can't have those teaching years back.

The greatest gift we can give our children is that which cannot be seen, but will play out gradually in the choices they make in their own lives...that which is embedded in their heart and mind and cultivated by us, their parents, over the years that we have influence.  That gift is the chance to build for themselves, by doing the stuff they don't want to do,  the strength of spirit, mind, and character, the strong confidence that cannot be magically created, but is earned by their own work,  that leads to success in life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Every day you make me proud. Every day you make me realize how blessed i am to have you for my daughter.