|Victoria Anne Ramsdell making friends with Gloria as the RamFamCO went over to have dinner with her refugee family, speaking no English, with no possessions, no experience in the U.S. and no idea how much we already love them.|
Resources: Twenty years ago when I began parenting there were few resources on good parenting. Over those twenty years books, blogs, videos, conferences, seminars and more have all developed, both faith based and not. Dr. Phil and Oprah have made what seems like billions of dollars trying to teach the world about issues of all kinds, one of them being parenting.
Need:The need has always been there, but around the time I began parenting the fabric of our family based society had began to unravel. Divorce, separation, cohabitation and various forms of family dysfunction began to define the modern day family. All of a sudden, Grandparents, Parents, Uncles, Aunts and even Pastors and Teachers became less and less available to help young parents learn.
Time: One of the new rules we have learned has to do with time spent with our kids. For years, it was believed that dads needed to come home from work everyday and spend "time" with the kids to be a good parent. I always wondered, what if the dad spends time with the kids but is not a good person? What if the dad is the problem in the family, which is often the case. Then time spent together is not good for the kids. We would say, the right kind of time is what is important. We now suggest time spent with kids have a purpose. Model how to serve others, how to work hard, how to grow skills and talents, how to pray or play well. Spend time getting to know them by listening. Get to know their friends, take them on adventures and include them in activities that allow them to grow. Less time spent with more purpose is better than more time with less purpose.
Goal: One of the most important new rules has to do with the goal of parenting. Some believe we should educate the kids in stages, prepare them for teen years, equip them for adolescence. While I agree kids should be prepared for the next seasons of life, the real goal is to raise our kids to be adults. So, it makes sense that we rethink the idea of what it means to train our kids. And it isn't to just be a good teen or adolescent.
Show & Tell: Another new rule is to do less telling and more showing. Kids need experiences and need to be included in meaningful things. Get them away from videos, tv, movies and things that make it seem like they are having experiences. Volunteer with them, study, ready, travel, pray, give, serve and rebound from struggles. Show them how to do things. Change the breaks on the car, open a checking account, clip coupons, run a 5k, visit a friend in the hospital and learn a new computer program that edits pictures. Don't tell the kids how to learn, do and grow, show them.
Relationships: Lastly, help restore confidence in relationships. Make a new rule of no divorce, no burned bridges and no abuse from bad relationships. This new rule makes everything else work. If relationships are intact, if they are longer lasting, if they include great trust and love, everything else will be healthier and more meaningful.