Salutations! I have finally returned to my blog. I’m filled to the brim with excitement about getting into the groove of writing again! This first year of retirement has been a time of many transitions and changes. Continued health issues have been challenges that I have had to face. Now that I am beginning my 2nd year of retirement my circumstances are looking up! I am thrilled to be able to sit down at my computer and write this post on my blog.
Goodness gracious! So much has happened in our world since I last posted. It almost seems like we live in another galaxy. Our nation is in such an unbelievable mess! Whether you are on the left or the right, black or white, we all have to admit that we have problems in our country. Our dilemmas have no easy fix. Nevertheless, these predicaments are issues that have to be faced and tackled. If the leaders of our country can’t figure out how to solve them, we need to start problem solving them in our own little corner of our communities and neighborhoods.
So, how do we implement our problem solving in our own little corners? What exactly do we do as parents, grandparents, and young adults?
Robert Fulghum in his book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten tells us to:
- Share everything
- Play fair
- Don’t hit people
- Put things back where you found them
- Clean up your own mess
- Don’t take things that are not yours
- Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody
- Live a balanced life
- Learn some and think some
- Draw and paint and sing and dance
- Play and work every day some
- Take a nap every afternoon
- When you go out into the world watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
- Be aware of wonder
- Remember the little seed in the styrofoam cup. The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that. Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the cup- they all die. So do we.
- Then remember the Dick and Jane books and the first word you learned- the biggest word of all- LOOK.
Oh, if we all could be like kindergarteners again, and abide by their classroom rules! Would our world be a better place? It certainly would be a good place to start. With our kindergarten core values listed above. Yet there needs to be more, doesn’t there? I loved it that Robert Fulghum lists that the kids learned the word “look”. Where do the kids need to look to as to learn their behavior? Their parents, grandparents, teachers and other caretakers involved in their lives. For children learn the most from what they see than from what they hear- from what is modeled before them, than from what is verbally taught.
I found a fantastic post about this very subject on one of my favorite blogs, Thriving Home. The post is entitled, “Character is Caught, Not Taught”.
The author states “that it is impossible for us to know what is going to make an impression on our kids. We don’t know when they are watching us closely or are oblivious to what we are doing. We don’t know what small moments may impact their lives. But we do know that these moments are happening. Our kids are”:
- Soaking up our attitude towards work
- Our response to trials
- The way we talk about people when they aren’t there
- The way we use our money
- The way we handle conflict with our spouse or friends
- The way we treat strangers
- How we respond when we are frustrated
“They are watching it all and are being shaped by the small and every day moments. Not the big ones.”
So, the author asked herself– “Am I living out the values I am teaching?”
- I tell them to share their toys but am I being generous with my possessions and time?
- I remind them to be thankful but how many times a day do I complain?
- I instruct them to use a respectful tone but what am I sounding like when I am irritated?
- I tell them to be patient but how do I respond when things don’t go my way?
She continues saying “that there is no such thing as a perfect parent. In fact our imperfections are a great opportunity to point kids towards our need for God’s daily grace in our lives. As parents, it is important that we look at our own behavior through the eyes of our kids. What are they seeing? What are they hearing?”
“When they misbehave, maybe ask if they have possibly learned that from you. Rather than just telling them not to do it, find a way to identify with the struggle and model how to fight the sin. The good news is they not only pick up on the bad stuff, but they pick up on the good stuff, too.”
“Show them how to love, when it’s undeserved. Show them how to take a deep breath when you are growing impatient rather than lash out, Show them how to serve without demanding recognition. Show them how to care for people around you. Don’t just tell them- ask God to help you show them what integrity and character looks like in the mundane, small moments of the day.”
I know that when I began parenting that I was at an impasse. There were some patterns that my parents had modeled that I wanted to use in my parenting and some that I knew that I had to discard. I had dreamed of being a “Mommy” for so many years. I had a “Memory Bank” that was loaded with images of parenting models that I wanted to adapt and use in my own repertoire. I also had friends who had become mothers before I had become pregnant who had lit the pathway before me. I read a plethora of parenting books to find my style of parenting and discipline. It was James Dobson’s Dare to Discipline and Dorothy Corkille Brigg’s Your Child’s Self Esteem, as well as the Ilg and Ames books on Child Development, that I chose so that I would know what behaviors were to be expected at specific ages.
Mercy me! Parenting is the most important job in the world! We are raising the next generation. I took this job seriously. I became a member of a Child Book Study Group and a Mom’s Group. I took Parenting Courses as they were offered, and I started a Mom’s Prayer Group.
I have found that the Bible has the best wisdom on raising children.
Deuteronomy 6:5-9 speaks of modeling.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”
Proverbs 22:6 is another poignant verse.
“Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.”
My favorite verse on modeling is the Golden Rule found in Matthew 7:12
“So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.”
I will have to say that I recently crossed the path of a former student. We both stood there for a few seconds, acknowledging in our minds that we knew each other, but trying to figure out names and places. Finally- Bingo! My former student stated: “Mrs. Smith, my second grade teacher. You were the one who taught us about the Golden Rule.” I was ecstatic! Nothing could have made me happier than a student remembering that fact about me. I hoped that she internalized that rule in her own life, making it a guideline for how she related with other people, thus making a difference in her little corner of her world.
Jim Henson the creator of the Muppets stated: “The attitude that you have as a parent is what your kids will learn from, more than what you tell them. They don’t remember what you try to teach them. They remember what you are.”
Here are some resources that you might find helpful on your parenting journey:
May God keep you in the palm of His hand,