Forever YoungAuthor: Catherine Pulsifer
My son is moving to New Brunswick, Canada. A wonderful place to live, BUT it is approx. 1,500 km from my home in Ontario.
As he prepares to leave, I think about what words do I say to him? What advice can I give him? On the other hand, does he really need any words of advice or does he really need any at all? It's one thing for a child to leave home and live close by but, to me, it is quite another for my son to leave to live in another province where distance prevents me from seeing him more often. Then, I realize that the values and the teachings I have given him over the years are more important than any words that I would say now.
It was vitally important to me over the years of my son's development that I modeled the behavior that I wanted him to adopt. You see, as a parent or as parents, we all have a tremendous responsibility that should not be taken lightly. This means a number of things as I will explain.
Discipline For Disobedience Not For Mistakes
A mistake is a mistake. That is to say that a mistake does not make a person who they are. And, to punish a mistake is to say to that person that they are the person of the mistake. However, accepting a mistake simply means to recognize, and this is the important factor, that a mistake is out of character to the real person who dwells within. On the other hand, disobedience is an act by the person that is a matter of free will. Or, it is a matter in line with a choice made by a person knowing that their choice is wrong and contrary to a known requirement. If this act of disobedience is left unchecked or left unpunished, it is tacit approval of the behavior. It is our duty as a loving parent to punish, or exact a consequence, that says that the act itself is wrong and merits consequences but it does not say that the person is a bad person.
Love that ignores acts of disobedience is not love but is ignorance or uncaring. To love a child is to direct, to guide, and to keep from harm. Acts of disobedience left unchecked will not predict good behavior in the future. Everyone of else has to obey proper and legal definitions of behavior and if within the family unit one does not undertake to correct through the use of punishment, or consequences, than we are not properly preparing our child to assume the proper role held in society. It must be recognized that the family unit is the backbone of society with each family unit making up the society.
Wrong Treatment Of Mistakes Or Disobedience
The real challenge for a parent, at least the one who recognizes their impact on a child, is that a mistake or a disobedient act does not and cannot be attributed to the underlying character of the person. What does this mean? Simply put, it means that when a child transgresses either by way of a genuine mistake or a free choice act of disobedience, it is vital to totally refrain from any suggestion, either verbal or otherwise, that this act is reinforced as the true being, or the true self. In turn, this means that if you by accident or by design insist that a behavior is consistent with the actual character of the person, you will reinforce that act as meaning this is how you always view the person. For example, if you have observed or been told that your child has stolen a candy bar from a store your action should include some kind of recognizable consequence or punishment. However, if you continue, thereafter, to call or label the child in other things they do or things that can be misconstrued and call them a "thief" you are planting the seeds of a self-fulfilling prophecy.
This self-fulfilling prophecy basically means that constant reinforcement, by you, that they are a thief will become the internalized attitude and feeling of the child. In later years, this may mean that they act as a thief, or behave as a thief, because they have heard over and over again that they are a thief.
Let a mistake be simply a mistake; let an error of free choice, that is disobedience, be the subject of a consequence or other punishment but leave it die. Do not reinforce a behavior unless of course you want that behavior to become predominant.
I recommend love be the motive for child rearing; a love that reinforces all that is desirable and minimizes the undesirable. A parent has a tremendous responsibility to help mold a child; be that example of loving and caring and you will have a legacy beyond your years in this world.
The Words of a Song
As I was driving home from work on Tuesday, I was listening to one of Rod Stewart's CD, and the song "Forever Young" was playing. Upon hearing the words of the song, I realized the song said everything that I hoped and wished for my son. To quote a few lines from the song:
"may the good Lord be with you down every road that you roam."
"may sunshine and happiness surround you when you're far from home"
"may good fortune be with you and may your guiding light be strong"
"when you finally fly away, I'll be hoping that I served you well, for all the wisdom of a lifetime no one can ever tell"
The title of the song, "Forever Young", and the messages in the song reflect the thoughts of a mother, no matter how old a child is, to a parent the child will always be forever young.
Thanks to the goals I set and my commitment, I am fortunate to have a wonderful career, and more importantly, I have been very fortunate to have worked with many wonderful people over my 24 years with my company. My career has provided me the means to give my children a good home.
I once had a dream of writing a book; I again set goals and not only wrote one book, but wrote 3 books. Writing is my weakest skill, so to actually have books published is a real personal accomplishment. For those of you who have my first book, "Wings of Wisdom", you will see the book is dedicated to my son and daughter with the inscription: "May the thoughts in this book help you both as you travel through the journey of life! The two of you are my inspiration and my joy!"
I love to share quotes and inspiring stories. I believe that we all have the choice of attitude and if a quote, story or poem could influence or make someone see a situation in a more positive way, then I would be making a difference in people's lives. As small as it may be, it would make a difference. So the challenge of developing the "Words of Wisdom" web site, started as a thought and today you see the results. For all the children of the world, we need to emphasize the positive. So much of what we see on the news and in print is negative in nature. A bit more positive in this wonderful world of ours can only make it better for our children and their children.
My Greatest Accomplishment
BUT, my greatest accomplishment , and my greatest pride and joy are my children. They truly are my greatest success. They have inspired me in all aspects of my life. So as my son leaves home, my message to him is this: "You and your sister are my greatest accomplishment. And may the messages in the song, Forever Young, be a reminder of my love for you."
Inspirational Quotes for Reflection:
"Good manners like most values, must be demonstrated and lived in the home if they are to become a permanent part of the child's character." Jacquie McTaggart
"Set goals with your family also. Help children learn this process early in life." Meir Liraz, How to Improve Your Leadership and Management Skills
"A child's hand in yours - what tenderness it arouses, what power it conjures. You are instantly the very touchstone of power and wisdom." Marjorie Holmes
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