Parenting – What I’ve Learned Raising Four Young Men

26 03 2013

Parenting – what I’ve learned raising four young men… Pat Helmers

  1. There is no more frustrating, nor gratifying job than raising a child
  2. Like birth, death, marriage and love, parenting is a fundamental  human experience.  Like birth and death, there is much  pain, but there is more than enough joy to offset the pain.
  3. Each child takes N amount of effort to raise. It’s a pay me now or pay me later situation.  If you don’t expend the energy early, you’ll expend it later (e.g.  30 years old living in your basement.)
  4. There is a lot of hefty lifting when raising a child. Having a spouse to help shoulder the burden is immense. Nothing can stress a marriage more than parenting. But when done right, with two people working in harmony, it can make all the difference.
  5. The trick to  ensure that your kids are adult readers, is to read to them nightly, starting from the time they are born. Once they learn the pattern of the story: context, conflict, adventure, resolution  … they won’t be able to put down books
  6. Don’t make a amends for the shortcomings in your life by living vicariously through your children’s life.  They are not you, and thank goodness for that.
  7. Being a responsible human being takes practice. Raise your children to make wise choices by starting out with easy ones.. .do you want vanilla or chocolate.
  8. Don’t let fear limit their growth. It has never been a safer time to raise a child. Don’t let the possibility of a one in a million tragedy,  stop you from having your child experience the risk and rewards of life.
  9. Let your kids fail  the early in life, then make them responsible for righting the wrong.  You are doing them a great injustice by being a safety net for all bad things. Flunking a class, breaking up with  a date, bending a fender,  or forgetting their lunch are trivial compared to divorce, death of a loved one, being fired,  a debilitating illness or failing out of college.  The early experiences are what children draw upon, to deal with the later.
  10. Hold your kids as long as you can. Eventually they will wiggle away. This teaches them bravery. Setup fences they can overcome… the basinet, crib, playpen, room, house, yard, block town, etc.  Children want boundaries. As they become more confident, they will jump the barriers and  search for adventure.  This is only right.
  11. Time is the most valuable thing you can give your children. Let the house fall apart.
  12. Most children are who they are for the rest of their lives. It is at this point in their lives where they may choose love or instead turn to fear and anger,.
  13. Expose your kids to all sports, eventually they will be drawn to one. Sports are the one place that best emulates the way the real world works for most people. It prepares them for society.
  14. Raise each according to their ability, provide each child according to their needs (Marx and Acts)
  15. A successful parent is one who has raised their children such that they don’t need them (but they do stop by and spend time because they enjoy your company)
  16. A parent is on 24×7 as a model.  Children will mirror your behaviors; choose wisely how you carry yourself.
  17. Be  a fool for your children, laugh.
  18. Be patient, sadly they will be adults before you know it.  Pay attention, don’t miss it.