Extracting good parenting skills from the people who raised you [VIDEO]
When we are children, we always say, or at least think, "When I'm a mom , I'm going to do this or not do that with my kids." How to extract the good things your parents did and graciously leave behind the rest.
The man in the video, impatient with his father's apparent senility, was able to learn of the sacrifices he lovingly made for him. Maybe he will be a little more patient with his children as a result.
I vividly remember screaming out, in a fit of indignant prepubescent rage, "I'm never going to do that to my kids when I'm a mom!" And, I meant it.
"I will never ground my children! I will never embarrass them! I will trust them and they will never lie to me! I won't have to give them a curfew!" The list went on and on. If I didn't say it, I thought it — and I know I'm not alone. This is the universal battle cry for children everywhere.
As I aged and matured, I had my own family. At some point, I got a karmic spanking. I turned around to see who it was that echoed the words of my parents and discovered, much to my horror, they came from my own mouth. Once I recovered from the intense desire to put my offspring into the hands of anyone who could do a better job raising them, I realized that the time had come to really consider my parenting style. I knew I needed to distill from my folks' parenting methods the practices that really were good, change a few things I thought were not, and blaze some new trails.
So, what did your parents do well? Here's what mine did:
Give the benefit of the doubt
For the most part, when we were asked if we did something, the reply we got was, "I believe you. I know you would never lie to me." This almost invariably resulted in a delayed but full Technicolor confession that left them reeling. Nonetheless, it was good to know that they did trust me — or they knew their strategy was a fairly foolproof road to the truth.
We (I'm the eldest of seven) were raised in an extremely literary household. There were always books, stories being made up and told, and classics being read to us. Consequently, there are at least five writers in the family. We were also never talked down to. We were spoken to in words that far exceeded our chronological ages. Our vocabularies are all massive, but we also lean toward chronic verbosity. Why use three words when you can use 12?
My mother told me, when I was unable to successfully make a good pie crust, "It smells your fear. You can't be afraid. It will fail you every time." This was the prevailing philosophy in our home. Never be afraid to try something new. Jump in with both feet and do it until you get it right. This explains my grasshopper tendencies. I have a lot of different interests and hop from one to the other with reckless abandon.
No crisis is ever a waste, no drama useless, no catastrophe without benefit, as long as you learn something from it — even if that something is to never, ever do it again. We were taught well to glean some good from all of our tribulations, whether we caused them or not.
Always leave a place a little bit better than you found it
We did a lot of camping and moving. I love that we were taught not to leave a place the way it was when we got there, but always a little bit better — a little cleaner, a little prettier, in a little better repair.
Our name means something
I am the daughter of a Rickman and a Shepherd and there is a lot of hard-earned blood, sweat, and tears in those names. We learned that our behavior should always add honor to those names of our ancestors. Sadly, that hasn't always been the case, but it is the ideal we strive for.
Those are a few of the ideals that I was raised with and that I tried to carry on with my family. I've left a few others in the dust and added a few more in their place. I guess the point is that we can spend our lives blaming our parents or we can look in the mirror at the people we have become and then get on the phone and thank them. My mother has a saying, "When you know better, you do better." Sage words. Our parents did as well as they knew how. We do a little better. Then we need to raise our children to do even better than we did. And so it goes.