What is the secret formula to raising a happy kid? a successful child? Since we are just making it up as we go along in this household on many days, I certainly don’t have the answer. But we remind ourselves of certain basic principles from time to time.
“It’s not our job to toughen our children up to face a cruel and heartless world. It’s our job to raise children who will make the world a little less cruel and heartless.” ~ L.R. Knost
The world needs more people who value charity, gratitude, empathy and understanding.
OK, there may need to be an exception for certain brotherly interactions . . .
“I would be most content if my children grew up to be the kind of people who think decorating consists mostly of building enough bookshelves.” ~ Anna Quindlen
Books are an escape into worlds of fantasy, dreams and adventure, while other times they act as the doorway to a new realm of knowledge and understanding. Do what you can to cultivate your child’s love of reading, and teach them to treat a good book like a good friend.
(Note: I am still working on my husband and youngest son on the whole “treat books with care” concept — my oldest son and I will not let the other two members of our family borrow our most treasured volumes, for fear they will be returned to us appearing to have gone through the washing machine, or unceremoniously jammed into a bag or briefcase. I am thankful for the ability to share ebooks with them . . . )
“Children must be taught how to think, not what to think.” ~ Margaret Mead
Instill good values, and let them figure out how to apply those values to the world around them.
I do have to say, though, that my husband forgot this tenet when introducing them to NFL football, being the passionate Minnesota Vikings fan he is (I remain in denial when it was the first time I heard one of my sons utter the words, “Packers Suck.”)
“A child’s world is fresh and new and beautiful, full or wonder and excitement. It is our misfortune that for most of us that clear-eyed vision, that true instinct for what is beautiful and awe-inspiring, is dimmed and even lost before we reach adulthood. If I had influence with the good fairy who is supposed to preside over the christening of all children, I should ask that her gift to each child in the world be a sense of wonder so indestructible that it would last throughout life, as an unfailing antidote against the boredom and disenchantment of later year…the alienation from the sources of our strength.” ~ Rachel Carson, The Sense of Wonder
Many of my favorite family memories involve experiencing the wonder of the world together — watching a herd of buffalo cross the river to their evening grounds in Yellowstone National Park, sitting on the shores of Iceberg Lake in Glacier National Park with a picnic lunch watching the mountain goats play on the snow-covered mountainside above, or gazing over the vast depth of the Painted Wall at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.
As I have noted in prior posts, time together spent exploring places of wonder can strain the family ties, as well . . . such is the risk of spending endless hours confined in the car together, enjoying a classic summer road trip.
There is no one right way to raise a child . . . indeed, that is what makes us so unique and interesting to each other. How dull life would be if we were all the same.
On that note, I leave you with the words of the poet e.e.cummings:
“To be nobody but yourself — in a world which is doing its best, night and day, to make you like everybody else — means to fight the hardest battle which any human being can fight, and never stop fighting.” ~ e.e. cummings
Blog on, friends.
Ciao! ~ Kat