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One: Your Nurturing Family

Your child is special, a unique individual, the
only one of him (or her) there will ever be. If you do not embrace this simple
truth with reverence and enthusiasm, your child will know and will never
completely get over it.

He began life’s journey with boundless potential
but also with limitations. With your help, he can be extraordinarily
successful. Still, there are mountains he can never climb, rivers he can never
cross, races he can never run. He comes to you on an “as is” basis.
He can only be who he is, can only become the best him there ever was or ever
will be.

world, it’s your child!

Your journey into your child’s future is exciting
and challenging, rewarding and disappointing, filled with pleasure and pain for
you and for him. At the same time, it is the most important adventure you will
ever experience. Your successful excursion into your child’s tomorrow begins
with your assurance he grows up in a loving home.

Leo Tolstoy said, “All happy families
resemble one another; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

Buddha said, “A family is a place where
minds come in contact with one another. If these minds love one another, the
home will be as beautiful as a flower garden. But if these minds get out of harmony
with one another it’s like a storm that plays havoc with the garden.”

The loving home where your child flourishes
includes the love and harmony of Buddha’s flower garden and much more.

It is Tolstoy’s happy family.

It is a place where encouragement,
concern, attention, and affection abound.

It is a place where your child can fully
realize his potentials physically, emotionally, spiritually, socially, and

It is a place where your child does not
merely succeed, he excels.

Your child is counting on you for unconditional
love and encouragement, constructive opportunities and experiences, continuous
care and concern. He’s also counting on you to teach him how to behave and to
keep him on the right track. That track is wide and open but it does have
boundaries. Along with constructive opportunities and experiences, your child
needs age-appropriate rules and limits, expectations and responsibilities.
Keeping him on the right track while being sure he receives the love and
encouragement he must have is neither simple nor easy. Nonetheless, it is
essential if your child is to excel in the ongoing, on-growing journey into his

Just as your child wants your unconditional love
and encouragement, you want him to love you, to love himself, to love other
people, and to love the world around him. You express your love through hugs,
playing, and doing things together. You encourage him to share his feelings,
fears, and frustrations. At the same time, you give him the freedom to grow and
to experience the bigger world. You want him to have an exciting life of his
own, knowing his relationship with you is secure and predictable.

In addition, you want your child to respect you,
to respect himself, to respect other people, and to respect the world about
him. You know much of his attitude toward himself and toward the world about
him comes from your attitude about him.

Just as children learn to love by being loved,
they learn respect for self and others by being respected. Your behavior,
attitudes, and beliefs are reflected in your child. More than you may ever
know, he “does as you do.”

Children also develop attitudes toward
themselves and others as a response to the attitudes and beliefs others
communicate to them. In part, your child becomes what you tell him he will
become. You convey this definition of self through your physical, emotional,
spiritual, and social interactions with him as well as through the way you
relate as his parent. Beyond these things, there is a whole world of influences
over which you have little control. Your hope must be you have nourished and
nurtured your child’s potentials so he can effectively deal with the multiple
influences of the world. You hope your loving respect has been strong enough
and clear enough to be integrated into his being as he moves out into a world
that may not perceive him as unique. His sense of being special comes from you.
You can only trust it is solid enough to last him a lifetime.

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