The Texas Bohemian

Word artist. Jack of all Trades.

Sunday Morning …parenting!

Hey, I’m still here!

Can’t believe I’m still doing this so often.  I am showing an incredible amount of stick-to-it for me.  Wow.

I’ll say that backwards. woW.

No plans for the day.  Sun is shining.  Beautiful Summer day in Texas.  Kids are playing down the hall.  Wife still snoozing.  Oldest still snoozing, too.

This morning’s lesson is on parenting.  I am a pretty hard-nosed daddy.  I believe kids learn lessons only when they are taught with determination and consistency.  My kids have made incredible progress over the years.  They’re making even more as I learn more about how to approach the world and pass it on to them.

These days there’s hardly a time when we go to town that we don’t run across a parent or two with a couple of kids who totally disregard everything they say.  I hear goofy little, “now daddy doesn’t want you to do that, please stop.”  No authority, no power, and no obedience.  We can’t be “friends” to our kids.  We’re not friends.  We’re parents.  We must, if we want our kids to survive, thrive, and find a  place, be strong, set an example, and exemplify the world at large within our little world so that the kids understand what is coming when they go out in the big, wide world.  That means we must show them authority, explain cruelty, let them know their actions always have consequences.

Beyond that, as a servant of Jesus and student of Gautama I have the responsibility to teach Truth to my kids.  This is an even greater challenge because kids are totally egocentric.  The trick is to chip away at that ego without destroying the kid inside.  It’s not an easy thing to do.

This subject came to mind today because my son came down the hall to tattle on his sister.  She has a hat that used to be his.  She was being snotty, saying “nah, nah, my hat!”  Something like that.  It is hers because he was totally selfish, demanding she give it to him when she just stuck it on her head to make a silly joke the other day.

First, I told him tattling was not nice, it’s selfish, and he’ll not get brownie points for tattling.  Second, I told him that she was baiting him, trying to make him mad, and she did that so she “won.”  Third, I told him that he should always overlook such attitudes in others.  He didn’t like my advice.  What can I say?  How many people like that advice?  How many people want to smash a face even if they don’t?

Next, my boy asked for his hat back.  I explain the reasons he didn’t have it.  I told him he wasn’t getting it back.  He was selfish and nasty and rude and those attitudes are not acceptable in this household.  Not ever.  So he pitched a little fit.  Then he got a close look at the wall for a few minutes.  Following that he got a second explanation about selfishness and was sent on his way.  Now they’re playing again.

I know the methods I use are not the “win friends and influence people” sugar and spice many “modern” parents follow.  I’m neither cruel nor mean but I can imply as much on occasion.  Sometimes there is correction, sometimes punishment, sometimes dismissal of charges.  There’s always forgiveness and always a lesson.  My kids are quite happy (except for my oldest who is resentful that I pulled her out of school) and they all love their mom and I very much.  It’s reciprocated.  Love does not mean giving in, making happy all the time.  Love means doing what one should do.  “Tough love” should not be a last-ditch effort to corral a terrible child but first-option to prevent one from becoming that.

I’m pretty old.  I’m not in very good physical condition.  I have no medical help.  It’s likely that my kids will not be very old when I’m gone.  My job as parent is to insure that they survive, thrive, and follow the teachings of Jesus and Gautama, to love God with their whole heart and love others above themselves.  Though I screw up, I loose my temper sometimes (when I do I am honest to them about it), I’m not perfect, there’s nothing on this earth that matters more to me than insuring my children find their place with God and thrive as adults.  Catering to every whim and giving them what they want and playing nice all the time will never, never accomplish that.

Some day I might write a book.  Some day.

Today, I prefer to be available for my kids rather than shutting myself off for days writing stories.

The day is beginning now.  Wife is awake.  My mom called, I have to go fix her a/c.

God Bless!

June 8, 2008 - Posted by | Blather

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