Monday, November 09, 2009

parent like the Joneses aren't watching

i nod when i read jacki kennedy's famous quote: "If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do matters very much."
but i also think that what contemporary society worries is bungling would be to stop making life so bump-free for their kids (what would happen if we didn't buy new things every time our children broke theirs? natural consequences, that's what)
i'm not advocating for ignoring bullying and making kids "deal with it on their own" or not providing any activities or stimulation for the kids while spending over the top on the "happy mommy lifestyle"
but there is something to be said for parenting children for their path and not preparing the path (free of any trouble or distress) for them. the negative stuff of life is what makes them happy and resilient people. if they have never had to deal with it before, good luck to their adulthoods.
hang up this quote (i saw it in my friend [fabulous, involved parent] christine's house and decided it fit my parenting philosophy too and was tres reassuring because every time i read it, it feels right and makes sense big-picture wise.
The best thing to spend on your children is time.
(some of that time is spent engaging negatively with them -- explaining why you're saying "no", but the other stuff -- giving them everyday memories and a picture of adults who are content and happy and enjoying life, even with its challenges and short-falls -- will trump every time)
nodded through this article too on how we as society are driving ourselves crazy trying to over-provide for this give the kids everything you can lifestyle because we don't want our kids falling behind their peers. (at the most noble, we just want them to be happy; at the least admittable, we want them to be have better/be more than everyone else's)
this is not making them better kids, or smarter ones, or happier ones (you HAVE to read "The Price of Privilege" by madeline levine)
it doesn't have to be a severe lifestyle shift. just start asking yourself at each new day, request, situation, if this is how your life and parenting resources are best spent. you'll know what is big-picture worthy.
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i am signing off to drink coffee and write solo. the whole family has a day off so i am hoping the late night family b-day dinner will have worked its magic and guarantee a sleep-in or two ;)

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