Earlier I was feeling stuck about what to write in my blog today.
I asked my 18 year old what she thought I could write about.
A Fun Time In The Playground
She told me that when she and her friend
were in the park earlier that day
they saw a mother with 3 children
playing in the playground.
She noticed how nicely the mother was playing with her kids.
She was being very enthusiastic and also very patient.
My daughter said she noticed how much fun the kids were having.
She also noticed how the mother really joined in with their fun.
She could tell that the efforts the mother was making
was having a positive effect on the kids.
Comfortable Playing By Himself
One of the kids went off to play by himself
and was having a grand old time.
He would climb up the stairs
and slide down the slide over and over again
really enjoying himself.
Occasionally he would fall and become distressed or start to cry.
His mother would come over to him and hold him,
comforting him and telling him everything was alright.
Very soon he would go back to playing
and enjoying his own company once again.
My daughter is very aware of different parenting styles
As she has gotten older she notices them in her environment.
She has always been raised in an extremely
positive and respectful manner
and so when she sees examples of something similar
she definitely notices it.
Especially since examples of the opposite are all around.
If you read my blog from yesterday,
the bagel catastrophe,
it tells the story of a more common type of interaction.
I thanked her for sharing the story with me
because it is always nice to see this kind of
interaction between parents and children.
A Better World Depends On Better Parenting
I don’t believe the world will not change for the better
unless the common model of parenting changes.
For if we raise our kids in a control and power model
rather than a communication friendship model
They’ll go out in the world with a control and power mindset
rather than a communication friendship mindset
They will then create a control and power based world
rather than a communication friendship world!
In thinking this way I have been accused of
oversimplifying a complex process.
I have been told over and over that not all kids are the same,
that they all need different approaches.
These people claim that a “balance” between
being a “parent” and being a “friend” is needed.
In this sentiment I read “Parent” as authority figure
who uses their power to enforce and impose
their will upon someone with less power.
I read “Friend” as someone who is permissive
and lets kids do whatever they want.
Two Harmful Approaches Do Not Cancel Each Other Out
I don’t subscribe to either of these views.
A balance between them is a balance between
2 harmful approaches.
It is like harming our kids one way,
Then harming them in another way to balance out the first harm.
We are then hoping that the back and forth harming
will somehow create a positive result!
Does this make sense to anyone?
Power And Control Are Never Necessary
I continue to believe that it’s never necessary
to hold traditional parent like power over our kids.
I’m not oversimplifying.
Parenting with communication and collaboration is anything but simple.
It’s much more simple to lay down an rule
and enforce it with the power we have,
than to make the same rule something that is
agreed upon by all parties
through listening, communication and reasoning.
Teach Children To Think Rather Than Obey
I know all too well the addiction to the traditional method
of enforcing limits and boundaries.
I just don’t think they achieve a real positive result.
It may achieve obedience,
but I think the idea of obedience is vastly over rated.
I’m much more interested in teaching children to think rather than obey.
In fact I specifically encourage my kid NOT to obey me!
Accepting The Old Because We Haven’t Investigated The New
I’ll add that sometimes we think the old way is necessary
because we haven’t figured out or learned
a new and more effective way to replace it.
Do Away With Tests And Grades
For example, when I propose to people
that I’d like to do away with tests and grades
as they exist today in the school system
their response usually is…
“Then how will we evaluate our students’ progress?”
I will often be somewhat cheeky and respond with:
“Exactly, Good question. Now you’re on the right track!”
Of course they’re not really asking that question.
They’re in fact saying:
“There is no other way to evaluate progress.”
The question they did ask though
is the very thing I am suggesting that we think about.
If the old way isn’t working, let’s think of a new one.
It’s not good enough to reject the new just because
there isn’t an immediate answer to the question.
An Unanswered Question Is An Opportunity
An unanswered question is an opportunity
to think and feel deeper.
It’s a chance for greater creativity
and for going beyond perceived limitations.
That is the obstacle that all new ideas face.
We know very well how the old ideas work.
Because they work a certain way
and because we don’t have a well-known alternative
we often choose to not seriously investigate
all the problems with the traditional approach.
Don’t Be Afraid Of Change
The saying here isn’t
“If it’s not broke don’t fix it”
the saying actually is
“If it’s all we know – don’t look closely at how it’s broke!”
Real progress is made when we can look deeply into the unknown.