Have you heard the story of the pencil maker and the five important lessons he told the pencil just before putting it in the box?
When I heard the story, I was struck by the parallel between a pencil and a parent. This post is the first of five that will consider those five lessons.
LESSON #1: EVERYTHING YOU DO WILL ALWAYS MAKE A MARK
Kind of scary, isn’t it, especially when you’re a parent? We’re not talking about leaving a physical mark – although unfortunately, that happens all too often, especially as people get stressed with financial worries, health problems, and relationship issues. The scars caused by verbal and emotional abuse can be more dangerous than the physical ones. They are not seen and often not addressed – and they can last forever, affecting a person’s ability to connect with others and reach their own potential.
Children are very vulnerable because they view their parents as PERFECT HEROES, at least when they are very young.
So, how can we leave “positive marks” on our children? I’m an advocate of Positive Parental Participation…the joyful, non-judgmental interaction of parent with child. This method of parenting
- Does NOT allow children to do as they please, nor does it encourage the child to make the rules.
- Does call for setting routines, encouraging independence and responsible behavior, creating a balanced day and, above all, loving your child unconditionally.
- Does allow for appropriate consequences if a child misbehaves.
- Does encourage spending quality time with your child – reading, crafting, cooking or doing whatever activities you enjoy together. Make mundane chores like cleaning the house a fun-filled experience by listening to music and dancing and dusting together.
- Does support listening to your child with respect when he has something to say. Take his opinions and comments seriously. The bond you build with your child today will bear fruit in later years when he needs to share his problems and concerns and he turns to you.
This is easy advice to give – but I’ve been there and I do realize it is not always easy to accomplish and put into practice. And what if you are going through a difficult time with finances, health or relationships?
PLEASE – ASK FOR HELP! Your family doctor, religious advisor or even a good friend can listen and direct you to other sources of help. Local support groups exist for just about every issue you may be dealing with. In fact, JUST TALKING about your problem can help lift part of the burden. There are ALWAYS OTHER OPTIONS, no matter how frustrated or hopeless you feel. It’s really important, especially as a parent, to work at resolving your issues so that you will be able to be the person you were meant to be and the parent that your children need you to be.
Tune in tomorrow for the pencil maker’s Lesson #2: You Can Always Correct the Mistakes That You Make.