Thursday, October 16, 2008

What Makes A Great Parent?

I found this article while I was purging some of my older magazines that I have been hanging onto... It's out of a Family Circle, the June 14, 2005 issue. How bad is that?? It wasn't even just this page I had...It was the whole magazine!!! Yikes!!

So anyway, I just wanted to share this. It's rather long.

What Makes a Great Parent?
By: Marc Parent
I was at our local mall with my two-year-old, separating chicken nuggets into small, chokeproof bites, when an older woman approached to tell me that I had a lucky little boy. "Why is that?" I asked. "Because you're a great parent," she said. I thanked her for the compliment and spent the rest of the day trying to figure out what she had seen me do that was so great. Pulling chicken nuggets apart, after all, does not a great parent make. Or does it?
One of my favorite childhood memories of my father is of an ordinary weekday when he came home from work with a bag of candy for me and my sisters. He explained that during his drive home he had heard the James Taylor song "Shower the People (You Love with Love)," and decided to do his best, on such short notice, to shower us. When I think back to my father's greatest moments, it's not the lavish birthdays or big vacations that first come to mind, but that late Wednesday afternoon and a single bag of orange candy.
The good news for any mother or father is that when it comes to time with your children, it's the small moments that make or break you. Locking in a legacy of parenting greatness may be an elusive goal; it's far easier to accomplish greatness on a more immediate scale and trust that your many small moments will have a cumulative effect. So with an eye on that prize, I submit this partial list of my own informal hodgepodge of brick-by-brick, 100 percent tested, small parenting greats. I highly recommend you test-drive any one of these today.
  • Look your children in the eyes and tell them you are their fix-it-up person. Tell them that no matter what breaks, you'll fix it--and if it can't be fixed, you'll never stop trying to make it better.
  • When they're in their pajamas, drive them to get ice cream. Do it on a school night.
  • Learn the names of all their teachers.
  • Tuck them in every night until sending them off to college, just call it something different once they've hit middle school. When you tuck them in, tell them something specific about how they impressed you that day. Make it up if you have to.
  • Love them unconditionally, but make sure they understand that the rest of the world won't.
  • You don't have to teach them how to throw a perfect spiral if you don't know how, but you do have to play chess with them and you do have to let them win.
  • Tell them made-up stories. Use their names for the characters, and make them the clowns and the heroes.
  • In every single situation, give them an avenue to succeed.
  • Jump with them into the snow, the leaf pile, the mud, the ocean -- last one in is a rotten egg.
  • After dinner tonight, giver your spouse a hug. Don't let go right away; let your children see you. Turn on the radio and let them watch you dance. Young children will try to get between you. Always let them get between you.

The nicest thing about small moments like these is that you can create them without the help of James Taylor songs. They aren't dependent on any specific occasion, place or time of year, and they cost next to nothing. You'll still have to see your children through high school unscathed and then into the right college (and find a way to pay for it). But as you navigate those waters, don't forget to keep the radio playing and never underestimate the significance of an unexpected bag of candy on an otherwise normal Wednesday afternoon.

I am far from being a perfect parent. That is not my goal anymore. I just want to be a 'Great' parent and I think this is going to help me slow down and enjoy my kids!

2 What's On Your Mind:

Naomi said...

thank you! just what i needed today...a little reminder

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

Yes, it truly is the little things that matter.

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