An amazing manifesto from parent to child

This is from my daily readings by Richard Rohr. I find this truly amazing and wish I knew about it when my children were small. I plan on creating a copy for my children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. My whole family needs a beautiful framed copy of this!

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Researcher Brené Brown knows the importance of vulnerability and open-heartedness. In her book Daring Greatly, she offers a parenting manifesto that can serve as a touchstone when we feel afraid or resist vulnerability. You might read it aloud to a child, someone you love, or yourself:

“Above all else, I want you to know that you are loved and lovable. You will learn this from my words and actions—the lessons on love are in how I treat you and how I treat myself.

I want you to engage with the world from a place of worthiness. You will learn that you are worthy of love, belonging, and joy every time you see me practice self-compassion and embrace my own imperfections.

We will practice courage in our family by showing up, letting ourselves be seen, and honoring vulnerability. We will share our stories of struggle and strength. There will always be room in our home for both.

We will teach you compassion by practicing compassion with ourselves first; then with each other. We will set and respect boundaries; we will honor hard work, hope, and perseverance. Rest and play will be family values, as well as family practices.

You will learn accountability and respect by watching me make mistakes and make amends, and by watching how I ask for what I need and talk about how I feel.

I want you to know joy, so together we will practice gratitude. I want you to feel joy, so together we will learn how to be vulnerable.

When uncertainty and scarcity visit, you will be able to draw from the spirit that is a part of our everyday life.

Together we will cry and face fear and grief. I will want to take away your pain, but instead I will sit with you and teach you how to feel it.

We will laugh and sing and dance and create. We will always have permission to be ourselves with each other. No matter what, you will always belong here.

As you begin your Wholehearted journey, the greatest gift that I can give to you is to live and love with my whole heart and to dare greatly.

I will not teach or love or show you anything perfectly, but I will let you see me, and I will always hold sacred the gift of seeing you. Truly, deeply, seeing you.”

Brené Brown, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead (Avery: 2012), 244-245. Visit brenebrown.com for a copy of the manifesto and other resources.

Families are unique

It has been a fun and interesting week. The visit with my daughter and her family has been fun. Family together is never without its moments but this has been good.

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I feel so blessed that my children “like” each other as well as love. the “liking” part is not always present in families. It is so easy to love someone as family but dislike the way they are. There are times when we can get on the outs for some reason but is has always blown over. I hope that part of that is due to my husband and I. At least I would love to think so.

Families are tricky things. It is so easy to forget that everyone is their own person and has thoughts, beliefs and ideas separate from others. The lifestyle of my three children is much different from each other but they still get along. They are vastly different in personalities and have each pursued totally different careers. I am glad they have followed their own paths.

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If you have children don’t be afraid to let them follow their own path. Obviously, they need love and direction but they are individuals. As they grow they need solid underpinning knowing that there is someone who will be there no matter what. They also need someone who will teach them a moral compass. With this behind them they will grow into good people.

There is no perfect

Today has been spent with family. I has been a wonderful day but I am very tired. I didn’t get enough sleep last night and I am really tired.

It is such a joy seeing part of my family enjoying each other. I am so glad that they grew up appreciating family and keeping up with each other. They have already shared much over the years and will continue to do so in the years to come.

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None of us is the perfect parent. I am sure there is no such person. Hopefully, each of us do our best to love and care for our children. This is what really matters. If we are lucky they will also care for us and for each other.

 

Grandparenting– great fun!

I am so bummed. I can’t manage to get my IBSD under control. It is better than it was but still giving me problems. I feel bad complaining because I don’t have the problems that many people have. The hardest part is not being in control

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There is a new baby about to be born into our family and the mother is sure that her child will be perfect. I suspect that most of us felt that way before we had children. We had expectations that were usually completely wrong. When we are young and naive we think that everything will go the way we expect…and then life begins.

 

When we have children life is no longer in our control. It really isn’t anyway but we don’t realize that until things go wrong. Children are their own selves and have their own minds and personalities. Every day is a new experience. It is amazing how quickly they get smarter than their parents. They are superior at reading moods, finding loopholes and pitting parents against each other.

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It makes me glad that I am a grandparent and great-grandparent and can love the children and send them home. Life is good!

Responsible?

A mother is neither cocky or proud, because she knows the school principal may call at any minute to report that her child has just driven a motorcycle through the gymnasium. Mary Kay Blakely, b. 1957

I found this in a little book of quotes from women. My experience as a mother finds this to be so true. I was never sure what was coming next. Mostly from my son but not always.

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I think the reason it struck me is that even though I love my children  I never doubted that they could make some mistakes of bad judgment. Having received that call I would immediately have known that it was true and one of my children at fault. I wonder if this would be true today. So many parents now want to remove any blame from their children. Somebody else must have caused this.

 

Taking this attitude does such a disservice to the child. If we are never responsible for our actions and there are no consequences we don’t learn. Actions always have consequences. Sometimes good…sometimes bad. When the outcome is bad we need to learn that we have to take responsibility and that may not be fun. Reparations must follow.

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I have known families whose children were never responsible for any bad behavior. The sad part is if they don’t learn when the response is minor they may end up in jail for a major offense.

Think about those parents who falsified records to get their children into college. Not only have the children learned that it’s ok to cheat to get what you want but also that it’s fine to laze your way through school. Someone will fix it for you. Those children believe that everything will be handed to them forever. They have no coping skills when things don’t work out the way they wanted.

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I wonder why parents have come to the conclusion that saving children from their actions is good parenting. I hope that the pendulum starts to swing back the other way.

Time out

This is my last day with my daughter and her family. It has been a wonderful visit and I look forward to being with them again soon. Each of my children’s families are different in personality and the things they enjoy doing. That is as it should be and I would like to think it means that I allowed each of them to be themselves.

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It has been cool since I have been here unusual for Austin but a great break for me. I will now return to warm weather and humidity. My mind is beginning its shift to what is ahead and the things I need to do this week. This has been a wonderful break. I didn’t have to plan anything or think about anything in particular.

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We all need down time. It refreshes us and allows us to go back to our routine with renewed enthusiasm. This time out has been a blessing. I hope that each of you can find time in your lives to back away and just vegetate.

Education at home and in the world

What we are taught from childhood on is what carves us into the people we are now. Children absorb not only what they are told but also what they see. Their world is their home and family. What happens there sets the path.

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Have we been teaching children to think only of themselves?

Have we taught intolerance?

Have we taught hatred?

Have we belittled them?

Or have we taught love?

Kindness?

Caring?

Education is not just what we learn in school. That is important and the more we learn the more we can understand about the world around us. The more we learn about the lives of others the less likely we are to be intolerant. However, learning in early childhood is crucial.

Every kind of education is necessary to make the world a better place. We must help families to teach their children well. We need to marry what we learn at home with what we learn of the world. The more knowledge the better. Never stop learning.

 

 

 

 

Teach that everyone makes mistakes

It is obvious that we learn more from the mistakes that we make than from the things we do right. It is important that we teach this truth to children. We spend a lot of time lauding success but little time talking about failure in a positive way. When children learn that only being correct on test or questions answered then they become fearful of making mistakes. They become less willing to answer or try something out.

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I know it sounds crazy to reward failure and that is not really what is happening. We need to take time to discuss mistakes and errors and ask what has been learned. Someone who is more into education than me needs to come up with a curriculum that allows time to discuss “boo boo’s,” understand what they taught and maybe find amusement in them (when appropriate). This time should include the mistakes made by the teachers as examples of how everyone is included. They could discuss what might have been a better path for next time.

Maybe this way we won’t stifle creativity. Most inventions came after many failures.

The child and the baby

This is not my story. I heard it at a conference. It was told by Madeleine L’Engle and I never forgot it. I don’t know if it is hers or someone told her. Forgive me if I tread on toes.

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There was a family that had a new baby. They also had an older child called Tommy. (not real name). Tommy seemed very attentive to the new baby. After the baby had been put down in bed in the nursery he said to his parents. “I want to see baby!” The parents tried to usher him into the room but he pulled back. “I want to see baby ALONE!” The parents were a little taken aback but reasoned that there was a monitor in the room and they could hear whatever went on. They waited by the monitor. Tommy entered the room and they heard him say to the baby: “Tell me about God, I’m forgetting.”

Are we too clean?

It is interesting where our search for complete cleanliness has led us. We have gone too far. Doctors are now recommending that we stop using antibacterial soap except in places where it is really needed. We have created a society of people who are actually to clean.

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I grew up with a grandmother who was born in the 19th century. One of her adages was “You have to eat a peck of dirt before you die.” Turns our she was on target. A recent article by a British physician who has studied childhood leukemia for the last 30 years has come to the conclusion that our immune system has to be kick started by, you guessed it, infection. He has found that lack of push to the immune system linked with several other factors is what is increasing the number of children diagnosed with this disease.

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This is no fly by night physician but a newly knighted doctor named Mel Greaves.  If you would like to read the article you can find it at

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/dec/30/children-leukaemia-mel-greaves-microbes-protection-against-disease?CMP=share_btn_link

It is an eye opener. I suppose that my great grandson, who is in day care and exposed to everything, may be safe from this dread childhood disease. At least I hope that there is some benefit from being exposed at an early age.

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God willing, this physician and those who work with him will continue to explore this lead and find a way to stop the increase in this disease.