Happy Mother’s Day!
While eagerly waiting for our adoption referral from China, we gave much thought to parenting. How would we raise our daughter to be strong and independent; sensitive and thoughtful; curious and happy?
Obviously, I don’t believe money is the biggest determination of a meaningful and joyful life. Success and happiness come from within, and more importantly, they take practice. How might we help her learn that life’s obstacles are not concrete barriers?
I wrote the following piece over four years ago; before we brought our daughter home. Like a business plan, it helps steer my actions in ways that I feel will result in success – for me as a parent, and for my daughter as a healthy, happy and contributing member of society. I think of it as my parental mission statement.
Our daughter turned four last week. I am pleased to report that she is blossoming into an affectionate, assertive, confident, and insightful little gal. She makes this momma very, very proud.
Parenting With Purpose: This I Believe…
It isn’t about expecting or demanding obedience and conformity. It is about encouraging discipline, personal autonomy and individuality.
It isn’t about respecting authority. It is about respecting one another.
It isn’t about rules. It is about principles.
It isn’t about being quiet, not crying, and stuffing feelings. It’s about recognizing and appreciating the full range of human experience.
It isn’t about making my child do what’s good for her. It is about working with my child to help her learn to make the best choices.
It isn’t about teaching her how to live life to the fullest. It is about living life to the fullest while learning happens naturally.
It isn’t about blindly following directions. It is about following dreams, interests, and passions mapped out by child and parents together in a loving relationship built on mutual respect.
It isn’t about giving my child everything she wants, risking a false sense of entitlement. It is about helping her get what she wants through her own efforts.
It isn’t about spanking. It is about teaching her that aggression is never an appropriate way to resolve conflicts.
It isn’t about parents being martyrs. It is about parents modeling healthy personal boundaries.
It isn’t about “because I said so”. It is about open communication and the art of compromise.
It is all about love.