Archive for December, 2007

Please respect our privacy at this very difficult time

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My mom often says, “Don’t spit in the water, because you may have to drink it someday.”

Loosely translated that means you shouldn’t talk about other people’s kids because your kids could make the same mistakes.

The announcement of 16-year-old Jamie Lynn Spears’s pregnancy is not a reason to question the parenting skills of Lynne Spears or the decision to delay the release of her parenting book.

Each parent has one variable we have to constantly be reminded of – our children.

Since I’m not standing in her shoes I can’t question Lynne Spears’s parenting skills. What I can question is who is selling the photos and stories to the media.

Their older daughter has to live with constant paparazzi bombardment and would welcome privacy. Knowing that, why would the family agree to invite the media into this very difficult time.

As parents, we wear many hats. But one of the most important roles is to be our child’s advocate. That means giving them time to learn from the mistakes they make.

That is, out of the limelight.

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When you don’t know what to get someone

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When you don’t know what to get someone, they probably don’t need anything. But there are people that do need things, some very badly.

Case in point:

Read All She Wants for Christmas is a New Jaw — ArchWired.com and The Braces Cookbook Try to Help

You can help to make a difference in the life of 19-year-old Jalyn Jones. It will give her something that each of us simply takes for granted.

Before you buy one more gift to put under the tree, perhaps you and even the recipient of your gift, will feel better about giving to someone else.

One of the most beautiful compensations of this life is that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Merry Christmas!

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The front porch in communities

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In the book, Come On People: On the Path from Victims to Victors the authors Bill Cosby and Alvin F. Poussaint have a powerful message for families and communities as they lay out their visions for strengthening America, or for that matter the world.

They address the crises of people who are stuck because of feelings of low self-esteem, abandonment, anger, fearfulness, sadness, and feelings of being used, undefended and unprotected. These feelings often impede their ability to move forward. The authors aim to help empower people make the daunting transition from victims to victors. Come On, People! is always engaging, and loaded with heart-piercing stories of the problems facing many communities.

The issues the authors bring to light in this book are not exaggerated. But the problems to a much lesser degree are not limited to this community. Children simply exist and do not reach their potential in even the most affluent communities. The deciding factor seems of how successful a child turns out seems to revolve around how much the family and community care about the child. By success, I don’t mean to limit the discussion to grades or future earnings, but contentment and self-esteem to believe they can do anything they set their minds to.

If we want to improve the success of today’s youth we can take the approach of bringing back front porches; literally and figuratively. It’s a metaphor for people to watch out for their community and to know that each of us is known and accountable for our actions.

It does take a village to raise a child.

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Let’s Educate Not Legislate

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The work will teach you how to do it. -Estonian Proverb

Imagine if we taught our children to be good people the same way we are taught to be good parents. If done the same way, we would wait until they did something wrong, criticize, possibly incarcerate and then instruct.

Somewhat counterproductive, right?

That is what I think about the recent attempt to ban spanking in Massachusetts.

When we first become parents, our hope is that parents raise good people. On the surface that seems relatively simple; almost too simple. In reality, it is simple for a very short time; when our children are completely in our care, before the outside world has an influence. The bottom line is that parents are never taught how to be parents, and many of parent the way we were parented. If our parents spanked, we learned to spank and fear it will become out of control because we’re not the parents who go anywhere near abuse.

By doing a little homework on the topic of spanking we would learn that it is harmful. Children that hit are children that hit others; the lesson is that it is ok for the bigger person to hit. Furthermore, if we are spanking, we have probably lost our temper, which teaches our children it is ok to lose our temper, and does put us in the danger zone to become abusive. But still creating laws against spanking is simply wrong.

Consider education before legislation.

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