I was raised in a family of 2 sisters and 3 brothers, an almost limitless combination for neurosis and sibling problems. My parents had a finite amount of money. They both worked to provide food, shelter and clothing. They did possess a large amount of what is much discussed but rare, common sense. All of us are at this moment self-reliant, contributing citizens, so I would call them successful parents.
I raised 2 boys and three girls with a large contribution from their father. They are self-reliant contributing citizens also. Relatives and friends asked my parents, and are now asking us how we did it. To my horror, I am beginning to reply as if I know. The major thing we learned to do is, “head the off at the pass.” I watched my parents, and I believe that if small daily problems are dealt with, they will not become big problems.
Having children is a truly humbling experience. I have learned to deal in more or less. I have made many pronouncements and eaten more words than I can swallow. To say “my child would never” is a slippery slope because I have learned that I cannot say with certainty that I would never.
I have good friends who cared enough about me and my children to tell me when they were concerned about the kids’ behavior. I tried to keep an open mind and evaluate the comments in the light of the information I had. The child’s behavior is the issue not the child. I took the criticism as an act of love. I cared about my friends and siblings kids and I know they cared about mine.
I had a teacher tell me she didn’t like my child. I was aghast that a teacher would say such a thing about a child to her mother. I didn’t like the teacher either. I had to step away from my protective feelings as a mother. I had to let go of my feelings and realize that the quality or behavior that the teacher found so irritating would also hurt my child with friends or an employer. I now believe that incident to be the single most gift a teacher has ever given to us. I still don’t like her but I listened.
Now that we are confined to home and spending more time with each other in this stressful world, we need to be kind to each other. I believe the home should be a place of peace and safety. Each member of the family needs to grow in their own individual manner. They need to come home to a place of security.
Name calling and swearing were never allowed in our home or in my parents home. Not to say that it was never done. We tried to instill in our children respect and courtesy for each other. There must be a recognition of each persons rights and love and faith in a family. Words can hurt just like a slap.
As my Dad with his common sense told us, “It doesn’t matter how you treat others, if you are mean to your family.”
Peace in your heart, peace in the family, peace in the country, peace in the world.