“You who are on the road must have a code that you can live by…” ~Graham Nash~
“They certainly don’t come with instructions, Mrs. Van, and I didn’t even need a license to birth them either!” Such was the beginning of a difficult conversation with a parent recently. She’s correct! I remember thinking, upon hearing the first whimper of my precious newborn child, “Oh dear; now I have to take her home, raise her, and pray it all turns out okay…”
There are two outstanding parenting books I recommended and loaned to this mom; we’re doing a book study with the first one right now:
Teach Your Children Well: Parenting for Authentic Success (Why values and coping skills matter more than grades, trophies, or ‘fat envelopes’) by Dr. Madeline Levine, and
Building Resilience in Children and Teens: Giving Roots and Wings by Kenneth R. Ginsburg.
Both books are highly recommended parent reading by the American Academy of Pediatrics in fact and I certainly wish both had been around for my personal reading long before now.
Dr. Levine discusses in depth the critical need for strong core values and parenting choices that lead to authentic success for our children in place of exhausted, externally-driven children who believe they are only as good as their last performance. As adults, we know real success is not measured by today’s report card, but by the person the child becomes in 15-20 years. Dr. Levine argues and proves a strong point that our parenting style should solely concentrate on both enabling academic success as well as developing a sense of true purpose, well-being, connection to others, and meaning in their lives. Her book is a call to action as we return to healthier, saner versions of ourselves.
When it was originally written in 2006, Mr. Ginsburg’s goal was to “translate the best of what was known about positive youth development and resilience into strategies parents could apply at home.” His pearls of wisdom now include previous observations as well as other gems devoted to preparing parents and communities to stand together against toxic society messages, maintaining vital connections despite multiple moves and deployments (based on his work with military families), and how resilience should never be confused with invulnerability. Just as children can reach their limits of resilience, so too can the adults who love and care for them…we all need to reboot!
Children thrive best when they have many layers of support! We all are responsible for developing the strengths, values, and choices needed for personal success now and in the future. Here’s hoping you’ll join us as we all continue working together to nurture our children today so they become the compassionate, creative 30-year-olds we need tomorrow. After all, as my precious newborn (now 24) reminds me: “I will be picking your assisted-living care, mom…” 🙂