Take a moment to think about your child. Now take a moment to dream what you would want for them and how you’d like them to conduct themselves in this world.
Word to the Wise:
Instead of thinking about the hear and now, think about what kind of human being we want to turn loose on
society in a few short years.
This is the what we need to keep in mind throughout the difficult parenting years. We need to think about the future, so we can set goals and stick to them in the present. So, how do we raise independent, righteous, humble, generous, understanding, selfless, loving, forgiving, compassionate, empathetic, non-prejudiced, and society-improving adults? That’s a long and challenging list of qualities! This is going to take a lot of time and effort- a lot of work. If we look back on our own lives we can see what shaped us- and we are going to discuss them all!
And where do we start? With ourselves.
A simple man believes anything,
But a prudent man gives thoughts to his steps.
We all must analyze our history, steps we’ve taken, choices we’ve made and analyze our past. We can learn a lot by looking over our shoulder. Investigating what kind of parents our grandparents were to our parents, and make correlations with the type of parents our parents turned out to be can help us navigate forward.
Word to the Wise:
When we don’t analyze our past we don’t make correlations as to why we behave the way we do. We can then miss out on a lot! The road to forgiveness, empathy, understanding, replicating or eradicating is all done by understanding the past.
Most of our ideas of child rearing can be traced back to our own lives as children. This includes how our parents treated each other (if we had both parents in our lives), how they treated us, what birth order we were in and how we got along with our siblings. Then the outside world makes its mark. Were we accepted at school or were we an outcast? Were we athletic, academic, shy, outgoing, artsy? Were there some pivotal people in our lives who made a difference? Was there one person who saw something special in us? Were we cherished or were we set aside?
Some of us dealt with major childhood abuse, while some of us dealt with parents who overindulged us. We may have been raised with a heavy hand, lack of discipline or an absentee parent. Our fathers might have been adulterers and our mothers may have been emotionally unavailable or volatile. We might have been raised with substance abuse, whether it was illegal or just too much partying in the home. We might have been raised as the least-favorite sibling. Our father might have been extremely hard on us or maybe we didn’t even know who he was. Our mothers might have coddled us for far too long, as she tried to feed some need inside.
We couldn’t possibly name every scenario. What I can say is this; whichever one describes you, if you do not heal any lingering pain from your upbringing, you will bring it into your relationships and into the way you raise your own children. As adults, we either replicate or eradicate how we were raised. We rarely go into a place of balance. Keeping things in perspective is not easy when you are choosing to parent completely different than how you yourself were raised.
He who gets wisdom loves his own soul;
He who cherishes understanding prospers.
The person who grew up poor may want to shower their children with the best and most expensive sneakers. The father who was physically abused as a child does not connect discipline with love; therefore, his children lack it. The parent who was neglected and abused becomes an angry and selfish parent. They are overwhelmed by the duties and selflessness that parenting requires. The woman raised in a domestically violent home is now empty herself. Her well was dry before she had children. We must be diligent in knowing ourselves, knowing our past- and understanding why we do what we do.
A man’s spirit sustains him in sickness,
But a crushed spirit who can bear?