Wednesday, April 23, 2008
This is an excerpt from "Messages from Matthew" (www.matthewbooks.com) that I would like to share with you. He writes on the topic of HOW TO PREPARE CHILDREN FOR THE FUTURE:
When asked, "What is the best way to prepare our children for the future?", Matthew wrote:
"My reply -- By Example.
EXPRESS your thankfulness for the blessings in your life and the beauties of Earth;
SHARE generously with persons in need;
SHOW reverence for all life;
BECOME involved in measures to preserve or restore the environment;
KEEP your mind open to new perspectives;
BE discerning in your decisions;
BE resilient, LEARN from failed efforts, and try again;
DUMP emotional garbage,
LAUGH and smile often;
FORGIVE those who hurt you, and
FORGIVE yourself for hurting others.
To this I add: LISTEN.
LET the children's voices be heard.
ENCOURAGE them to talk about their ideas, fears, plans, hopes, dreams, disillusionment and disappointments;
ENCOURAGE them to set realistic but not limiting goals;
ENCOURAGE them to emulate but not compare themselves with individuals who inspire them.
And above all,
By how you live, you show them the power of unconditional love for themselves, all others and Nature." -- MATTHEW, through his mother, Suzanne Ward (www.matthewbooks.com).
This serves as a great reminder of other words of advice I received at a parenting workshop I attended in Chapel Hill, NC several years ago.
Tammy Hughes, a founder of the first Waldorf nursery in China, opened the parenting workshop with this question:
"What is the best thing you can do for your children?" We replied, "Read to them." "Feed them healthy foods." "Love them."
Her answer: "The best thing you can do for your children is... Work on yourself.” We all laughed.
Then she asked us: “What is the second most important thing you can do to help your children?" We were silent this time.
Her answer: "Work on your marriage.”
Dr. Mark Eisen, our family doctor, was also leading the workshop that evening. One of my favorite sayings he has is, “Your children will love you for your striving.”
As we strive to be better parents, and to learn from our errors -- we live by example. As we make our mistakes, apologize, forgive, and plan on how to do better next time -- and eventually -- laugh at our foolish ways -- we teach our children how to be kind to themselves -- and that their parents have the courage to get up, stand up, and be human.