4PARENTS: BEING A LOVING PARENT
Some Personal Thoughts about Parenting
By Bill Zimmerman, Creator, MakeBeliefsComix.com
What are the things parents should convey to a child?
- That most of all they love their child.
- That their child provides great joy in their lives and they regard this young being as a blessing from God.
- That their child represents all the hope they have within their souls, and the goodness and charity that is within.
A parent must share the things she has learned from life with her son or daughter, such as:
- To never give up no matter how difficult things seem to be.
- To be kind and giving to others.
- To believe in oneself. We must recognize all that is good and special within us waiting to be discovered.
A father must convey his love and caring to his child and not withhold these by remote silence. A father must make time to listen to what a child is trying to tell him, no matter how much difficulty the youngster has in expressing her or himself. A father must show his child that he is constant in his fathering, that no matter how some things may change, for worse or better, the father will always be there loving his child.
Helping a child develop their humanity
Parents must convey to their son or daughter the need to be a responsible human being, to make the world better, to help others, to be a loving and loyal person – this is the way of a good human. Parents must set an example for their child by the way in which they treat others.
A parent will tell her child to listen to the voice inside and believe in her or himself, and not to allow others to dictate what truth is. Each person must discover his own truths and learn to trust her or his judgments and instincts.
A parent must try hard to say "yes" more often than "no." "No" is closing a door in a life which offers infinite possibilities for a child to enjoy and grow. A parent also teaches his child to never take "no" for an answer. There is a solution to every problem. All it takes is hard work, guts, stubbornness and creativity to see a problem from its different sides until an entry point is found to solving the problem.
To help their child, parents will give their son or daughter responsibilities that he or she is capable of fulfilling; doing so teaches a youngster that she or he, too, has an important role to play in a family and can make a contribution.
A parent must prepare his child to accept that there are low points as well as high points in life, that our journey is not all a straight path. Sometimes the road is crooked or branches off in different directions - sometimes we choose the right road, sometimes the wrong one, and in those instances we will need to find our way back to the right path for us. Along the way we sometimes may stumble and fall, and at these times we must simply pick ourselves up and try again. The mark of a mature person is her or his willingness to keep trying and to do his best in the face of adversity. A parent's job is to teach his or her child to have hope in the future and that bad things can be overcome in time with work and hope.
When to love and when to fight
A parent must teach a child to be gentle and loving, that such qualities are signs of strength, not weakness. The more loving we are, the better a world the child will inherit. But if the time does comes to fight for a just cause, and our backs are against the wall, then we must be prepared to battle as fiercely as is in our power for our beliefs. We must never give up without a good fight.
Parents must take time to tell their child that she or he is loved and adored. Don't expect a child to read one's mind. A father must find a way to say the words, whether in voice, in writing, or in clear deeds. Try to say them, don't hold them in, for silence breeds confusion, isolation and lack of understanding. Parents can only gain by giving their children their full love and devotion. Our children help us to become our best selves.
Parents must try to teach their child some values or beliefs that she can cling to for succor all her life. Everyone needs some ballast to keep going.
A parent must also make a conscious effort to overcome or contain the pain, the hurts, the grief of his or her own past. For their child's sake, they simply cannot afford to allow these to get in the way of being a loving, caring parent. Instead, we must surmount our own broken or troubled childhoods to secure a good childhood for our children.
Parents must also try their best to make their marriage work and build a home filled with love. A child does not need many things to prosper, but she or he must have love and a sense of safety. It is no good for a child to live amidst constant fighting and tension; it undermines his or her soul and belief in the goodness of the world. A child, exposed to constant anger, can lose hope this way. But, whether living together or apart, a father must continue to be lovingly involved in his child's life. He must never abandon his child; to do so will cause terrible hurt and suffering in that young person.
A good parent also lets his child have a sense of privacy and freedom to explore. A child must have some breathing room in which to grow and even make mistakes. She needs to be given the chance to find her own answers. That is the way a child becomes an independent, self-sufficient human being.
Lastly, loving parents take time to point out to their child what is special in her or him and what also is special in others. Every child is a "gifted" child. God gives each of us different gifts and abilities, and those who are wise take time to discover what another person’s special gift is even if it is not immediately evident. That is the way we show love and respect for one another.
(Bill Zimmerman, creator of MakeBeliefsComix.com, is the author of Lunch Box Letters: Writing Notes of Love and Encouragement to Your Children and Laptop Letters: Writing Wise & Loving Messages to Young People in Your Life. His educational web sites are: www.makebeliefscomix.com and www.billztreasurechest.com
If you like the ideas expressed in this section please share them with other parents and groups you belong to.