Who Needs This More . . .The Kids Or The Parents?

I honestly don’t remember where I first heard these words but I certainly have seen the truth of it born out—‘They learn what they live; they say what they hear and they do what they see.’

These are such trying times, confusing times, very frustrating but more than anything they are times during which the true colours of parents is really put to the test. Unfortunately it is a test that parents across the board are failing and by a significant measure. Not so long ago parents knew their role and accepted the ‘job’ and ‘privilege’ of being a parent. This cannot be said of the vast majority of parents today. By all means there are many parents who are dedicated, loving, caring and ready to accept the responsibility of guiding a young life to adulthood. But there are many more who are not ready to do that, many who really have no interest in providing the guidance and the stewardship required, many who just walk away not wanting to be a parent at all and still others who want to be their child’s best friend instead. Obviously none of these choices is acceptable.

When we listen or watch the news all we seem to hear are stories about mass murders, people hurting or killing other people over a parking spot at the local department store, rapes and assaults, robberies, people disposing of other people by tossing them in an incinerator that is meant to dispose of animal carcasses and on and on goes the list. When we look at the perpetrators in these crimes more often than not we will hear about a young man who flipped out or just felt as though he was entitled somehow for some reason to do what he did. Where does this thinking come come from? How do they feel that it’s OK to walk into a club and murder 50 innocent people. Whether you agree with their life style is irrelevant. They have the right to love who they wish.

My feeling is that this thinking and behaviour comes from 30 years of parents getting away from or simply not understanding what is required of them as parents. They either don’t want to be ‘that’ parent or they don’t know how to be ‘that’ parent mostly because they, themselves, were never taught the relevance of the 7 basic life lessons which are critically important to any child’s development as a functioning human being. These 7 principles are paramount to living in a civilised, individual and self-actualised society which is demonstrated by its citizens living these principles on a day to day basis. We are light years from achieving this most important goal and without this learning necessity the rest of our education is window dressing. We have demonstrated that as well. I want to go with the ‘don’t know how to be ‘that’ parent’ option.  I buy into the axiom that says: “you can’t know what you don’t know”. For me it is: “You can’t teach what you don’t know” and if you have never been taught these 7 principles how would you know to teach them to your kids?

The title asks the question: “Who Needs This More . . . The Kids Or The Parent”? My answer to this question is both need it. Parents need to accept the fact that they don’t know this stuff and need to if they are going to be competent parents. The kids need to shut up and listen because they know little if any of these 7 ‘Life Lessons’ and need to if they are going to survive not to mention the importance of passing this knowledge along to their kids.

Here are the 7 basic life lessons they need to know: (From the poem by Dorothy Law Nolte)

1.  If children live with hostility, they learn to fight.

2. If children live with fear, they learn to be apprehensive (fear stifles enthusiasm and positive risk taking therefor growth doesn’t happen or at least is much more stymied).

3. If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence (most kids crave encouragement-it’s like a drug to them-strong and powerful. However, be sure to use encouragement and not praise).

4. If children live with acceptance, they learn to love. (not just their own acceptance but also the acceptance of others for who they are in the world. Many less club shootings too).

5. If children live with sharing, they learn generosity.

6. If children live with honesty, they learn truthfulness.

7. If children live with fairness, they learn justice (they also gain trust in the system).

These are the top 7 Life Lessons parents need to be teaching and discussing with their kids. Do this and we will ALL have a much better quality of life with less fear and anger and more love and respect for each other. A great trade off if you ask me.

Anyways, that’s how I see it, Jim

Comments will find me if you connect with jim.lifechoice@gmail.com. You can also find out more about what I do by going to : jimcloughley.com

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Author Jim Cloughley's 
Brand New Blueprint For Learning