Parenting: Keeping it simple, fingers crossed

I remember when I first got the news that I was pregnant, my family doctor offered sage advice: “Don’t read too much….the problem with your generation is that you have access to too much information, too many books. Pick one or two and then leave it at that, if you read too many, you will get overwhelmed or anxious.” And, he added:”always trust your intuition”.   I agreed with him.  Someone loaned me the old standby “What to expect when you’re expecting” and I bought Penelope Leach’s book, “From Birth to Age Five”.  Later, Barbara Colorosa’s book “Kids Are Worth It”

So, we kept our parenting strategies simple. Obviously, all parents say that they love their children, and we are no different.   Our goal was to remember that Emily was only on loan for a while.  We gave her life, but did not own it.  I have always believed that we are simply the guardians of their souls until such a time, when they take on the responsibility for themselves.  If we have done our job well, then we will continue to have the blessing of her in our lives.  So far;) this seems to be the case.  We didn’t go through a rough patch.  We have an open, respectful communication.  We really enjoy each others company.  I will always love our daughter, but most of all, I admire Emily.  I admire her innate calm, her intellect, ability to keep secrets, patience, discipline, loyalty, humour and big, big heart.This is a poem that I received as a newspaper insert the month that she was born.  I stuck it on our fridge and it stayed there for years.  It is in my office and I still look at it.

Children Learn What They Live

If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule, he learns to be shy.
If a child lives with shame, he learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance, he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement, he learns confidence.
If a child lives with praise, he learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness, he learns justice.
If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with sharing, he learns generosity.
If a child lives with kindness and consideration, he learns respect.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to find love in the world.
If you live with serenity your child will live with peace of mind.  Dorothy Law Nolte.

So with fingers crossed, we are entering into a new chapter.  Our child is clearly a young adult.  She is as eager to learn and participate in life right now, just as when she went to daycare.  The issues are more complex than when I held her each night with a good night read, but somehow, I know, that all the good stuff that we encouraged her to know about herself and the world is what guides her.  Above all, to look within, and with Dr.Thomsons good advice….trust your intuition.
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