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Parents Lead Parenting Guide

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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.

Hello 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 intellectually.

*     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 future.

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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