In Our Hands
Discipline your children while you still have the chance;
indulging them destroys them. (The Book of Proverbs, Chapter 19, Verse 18, The Message, BibleGateway.com)
We feed them sugar in its myriad forms, buy them a dizzying array of plastic stuff, and use the TV as our baby sitter. Then we pay the dentist. But the chance is gone to form their character and their intellect.
This holiday season, let’s give them the gift of ourselves, an informed us.
So what will I do for Sophie? I’ll play Zoominoes with her tonight and do tic-tac-toe. She loves that and cheats. Not really. She just changes the rules as we go along. Maybe she is on her way to Extreme Ownership. She does lead to win. By that I mean she grabs the pen and changes my O to an X. Voilá! Victory for the five-year old.
Oh, and maybe I’ll revisit Simplicity Parenting, the best book I know on child rearing, other than maybe The Book of Proverbs, which takes us back to where this post started.
Last night I saw this post on Craigslist San Diego:
I need WordPress bloggers (Downtown San Diego ) I have a wordpress site I need someone who is an excellent writer to blog on my site about education events that are taking place in San Diego for kids. I am looking to hire several bloggers starting this week.
So I texted back:
I like WordPress and have Ph.D. in Ed.
This morning I’m thinking that liking WordPress and having a Ph.D. may be salient facts, but they are not my most important quals for blogging about education events for kids. Lots of folks have those quals but not the slightest clue about kids. The word manifesto came to mind. I need to share my manifesto to give the person behind the post a better idea of whether I meet the bill for the job or not. At the same time, I get to share some values with anyone who is willing to read on. So here goes with the first point of Allen’s Manifesto: Parenting. Future posts will deal with other points. I am passionate about parenting. Parenting is not just for biological moms and dads. It is for everyone. It is for you, no matter who you are: young, single, and never planing to have kids or at whatever stage in life where having kids is not on your agenda. Let me explain what I mean. I was a really little boy when a lady asked my a question. “What is your name, little man?” I ducked my head slightly. Timidly I glanced up sideways and replied softly, “Allen.” “Oh!” she exclaimed, as though she had just discovered some marvelous secret treasure, “That is a noble name. Allen is a name for a prince.” From that moment I began to think of myself as noble. I wanted to walk like a prince, look like a prince, behave like a prince. I do not know who the lady was who first gave me the clear idea that I was princely. She was visiting my Aunt Florene’s house on Ledbetter Drive in Dallas, Texas. Those details remain clear. I hope that some day her identity will come in to focus from the depths of memory. But whatever her identity, she blessed me for life with just a brief exchange. For a few moments in my young life, she was a parent to me. Years after the mystery lady bestowed upon me the royal rank of prince, I was a Fulbright Scholar in Paris studying at La Sorbonne. I discovered Le petit prince in the original. Antoine de Saint Exupéry first published Le petit prince in 1943, the same year my parents published me into the world back in Dallas. The princely thread goes on. Remember Viola Davis in her role as Abileen Clark in the movie The Help?
You is smart. You is kind. You is important. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZimx1wHYcs
Whoever you are, wherever you go, let kids know they are royal, they are smart, they are kind, and they are important. Nothing is more important. Let them know it. Treat them that way. Talk to them that way. Weave a thread into their lives that will go on and on, carrying your gift forward well after you are no longer earthside.