Jean Tracy, a parent expert I envy for how much she helps parents, used part of my Parents Are People Too book in a blog post. I am posting it because she pushed my worth to a higher level, a skill parents need to learn
Which Values Must Children Learn from Their Parents?
When you teach your children values, which ones would you like them to repeat at your funeral? Our parenting expert and author, Katherine Gordy Levine, has researched some of the wisest sages of our time and is here to share them from her book, Parents Are People Too. She’ll even tell us what she said at her mother’s funeral.
Eulogy from Your Children
Which would you rather have your children say at your funeral?
- Mom taught us how to love.
- Dad pushed me into achieving the Eagle Scout Award.
- Mom showed by example how to help others.
- Dad read us bedtime stories.
- Mom made us succeed by hitting and yelling.
In Her Chapter on ‘Goals and Missions – Knowing What’s Important,’ Katherine shares 4 common core beliefs. She calls them one-liner templates for guiding your child’s life. Which one of these would you want your children to adopt?
- “To thine own self be true.”
- “Winning is everything.”
- “The one with the most toys wins.”
- “What will the neighbors think?”
Did you pick number one?
Katherine goes farther by naming these 3 common core beliefs across cultures:
1. Help those in need; be caring.
2. Treat others fairly.
3. Only some people are worthy of caring and fairness.
How did you feel about the third one?
3 Authors Katherine Recommended for Teaching Values:
1. Victor Frankl, who wrote about surviving a concentration camp in his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, said that those who survived best believed in the service of others.
2. Robert Fulghum’s book, All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, cleverly puts forth the ideals of caring and justice.
3. Dalai Lama shared his core belief by saying, “My religion is kindness.”
Three Values Katherine Shared at Her Mother’s Funeral:
1.” She gave us the gift of loving life’s, small pleasures. She taught us to love the first snowfall, a shooting star, a piece of sea glass, the sunset.”
2. “She always knew exactly how to comfort the hurting child, how to make all children feel special.”
3. “She often bought and sent to you small reminders of her love.” (From pages 117-124)
Katherine ends with the question, “What do you hope your children will say about you?”
Jean took my ideas and raised them. That is the art of being a caring person. It should be the goal of every parent, every lover, every friend, every one of us.
Praise alone is not enough, but the right praise at the right time, strengthens immeasurably. What did Jean do that was right praise?
- She lives the values she hopes others will live.
- She made personal contact.
- When we first began to know each other it was via internet postings; she did not automatically dismiss me because of my dysgraphia: many have.
- She was open about what she wanted. Her goals were to share, care, and promote herself as well as others. This was always clear.
- She kept promises; she returned favors.
- She always thanked me for anything I did
- She always did more to help me than I asked for or expected.
PARENTING TIPS based on Jean tracy’s modeling
- Live the values, you want you children to live. That is the big one and hard for many, but it remains vital.
- Make personal contact. Hug, play, talk to and listen.
- See all the good.
- Worry less about mistakes and errors and more about the relationship.
- Know your goals for your child and make certain sharing and caring are what matters most.
- Keep your promises.
- Return favors
- Say thank you as often as you can.
- Do more than is expected, but less than is needed.
These are my additions:
Tip one: Do not be afraid to criticize or punish, but do so only for the big rules: safety of self and others, respect for self and others, safe guarding valuable property, and respect for reasonable laws.
Tip two: Make all punishments fit age and stage. An infant is never punished. Temper tantrums signal the need for time outs. Jo Frost aka Super Nanny does them best. Phrelon’s One, Two, Three Magic does a great job of enhancing time outs. His best advice? Reminding parents children are not miniature adults and that parents talk too much to kids under the age of twelve.
When school starts the age of Lets Make a Deal. Concrete rewards and withholding such rewards become useful tools. Time out should switch to time in your room to think things over. One, Two, Three Magic still works.
Teens also respond to rewards; extended curfews, money, car keys, cell phones, and computer time serve this age as useful tools for rewarding or withholding rewards.
This also is when the advice in Parent Effectiveness Training (PET)’s guru Thomas Goron should be applied. Not before. PET and the other communication gurus are primarily responsible for treating children like adults and talking to them too much, but only because their ideas were not applied according to age and stage.
Tip three: No matter what the child’s behavior – for teens and adult children in particular, keep the love going, but do not tolerate abuse.
Tip four: Keeping the love going means keeping your cool. My two most recent books 12 Easy Exercises for Taming Mad, Bad, and Sad Feelings or Self-soothing, Create Calm in Your Life. are about staying calm and cool.
Tip five: Parenting is a process and the rewards and problems vary for each age and stage. Keeping a long-term perspective and remembering what matters are vital in getting you and your loved ones over rough patches so you can enjoy the rewards.
As Elizabeth Stone noted, ““Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.” Do not beat up emotionally on yourself or others when things go wrong.
The Parents Are People Newsletter will soon be published. A quick read, the newsletter will add a new post, contain some news, a poster coach, a joke, or a quote for thinking about what matters. Sign up on the sidebar.
As usual for all you do to support me, thank you.
The first: Although based on what are called evidenced based practices, the is no guarantee my advice is the right advice for you and your family. Experiment, try my tips; if they are not useful to you try another parent adviser.
The second: I have dysgraphia, a learning disability that peppers my writing with mis-spelling and punctuation errors. All my books are professionally edited. Not so my blog posts. Although I use all the grammar and spelling checks, mistakes slip by. If they bother you, seek another source of support for life’s less savory moments. Life is too short to let problems you can avoid annoy or stress you.