Watching your children love, support, and have fun with each other. Seeing your children develop a curious eye, a desire for information, a desire to achieve and accomplish greater goals than you could ever have had at a similar age. Hearing your children stand up for themselves, speak their minds, challenge authority, and declare their thoughts and feelings – all in an appropriate manner. Experiencing moments of tenderness and care directed towards you, the parent, in a manner that is unexpected and unsolicited on your part. Witnessing your children entering into healthy, open, mutual, respectful, and equal relationships of love and trust.
From Nancy Axelrad: When good news starts to trickle back from others that your children are kind and well-mannered, you know you’re doing something right as a parent. You’re doubly thrilled when you discover that your child did something special for another caregiver. Helping your child to keep his joy and wide-eyed sense of wonder about life helps you do the same.
A parent, who requires no attribution, responds with….
My daughter is too young (six) to have a lot of knowledge or assets, but her polite articulation of her discretion regarding time, commitment, effort, self-awareness, awareness of others and forgiveness is awe inspiring.
Any time she shows emotional awareness, flexibility in process and stability in objectives rather than denial of reality, rigidity in methods and disappointment in results, I know she’s going to be o.k. … and any time she doesn’t, I get to lead by example.
Several instances stand out:
Polite – “I’m going to ask you to respect my words. Please don’t do that.” (After initial “please don’t do that”, repeat request for lack of rough housing by friend.)
Time discretion – “No, that’s not my priority” (When asked “isn’t having candy more important than visiting with friends”?)
Commitment discretion – “Safety first, jobs second, then play, play, play, play, play” (When we were planning to address our less pleasant responsibilities.)
Effort and forgiveness discretion – “I did my best … perfection isn’t the standard” (When falling over for the three thousandth time trying to roller blade.)
Self-aware “Ow. That was a painful … and a shock … but I’m o.k.” (When she tripped over her Hanna Montana flip-flops.)
Aware of others – “Yes, but Todd doesn’t always do what he says.” (When discussing commitments for a play date.)
But my favorite public recognition – voted “most patient” at summer camp.
No attribution desired.
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