I’ve never been one for New Year’s Resolutions, but I realize that the start of a new year is a convenient time to take personal inventory and commit to change.
In that spirit, here are some of my reflections as a parent of a 24-year-old son, a man who somehow survived the many mistakes his father made.
Say I’m sorry
Every child we raise is a completely new experience with all the attendant challenges.
Will we make mistakes as we feel our way through? Of course. I lost count a long time ago of the number of times I apologized to Jack for my shortcomings.
“I’m sorry” not only minimized damage and soothed hurt feelings at the time, Jack learned that lesson and is a quick with an apology now.
Growing up is hard. Making mistakes, testing boundaries, learning limitations, these are mandatory for children.
No need for recriminations and harsh punishment.
Kids are gonna stumble. Our job is to pick them up, dust them off and encourage them to try again when they’re ready.
Lead from Behind
Avoid getting ahead of your child and presuming to know what’s best for him. You might think that studying math and science will guarantee your child a bright financial future.
But your daughter may have other ideas. Listen to those ideas and be supportive.
Favor Yes Over No
We all start life small and powerless. Every day kids are reminded of their limitations and hear “no” all the time.
Don’t play here. Don’t talk now. Don’t run inside.
Authority figures and their do’s and don’ts dominate childhood, so be a positive presence for your child.
Pat him on the back. Say nice job. And when your child asks you to play, even if bone-weary tired, the answer is always, “Yes.”