Friday, January 27, 2012

Bringing Up Children in an Age of Conformity

From author Randy Hain:
We don’t have all the answers, but we do have a lot of lessons!  Here is what we have learned in our parenting journey so far about raising independent and faith-filled children:
  • Model strong faith and prayer.  Attending Mass, Holy Days, PSR and evening prayers are to be expected.  We go to Reconciliation frequently and let the kids know why it is so important and that we look forward to it.  We also make sure our children pray with us in public over every meal.  We frequently pray for others and are trying to incorporate family Rosary time in our home.  Bottom line:  we love our faith and pray and hope that they see and model our behavior.
  • Engage and Guide.  If we don’t spend quality time with our kids, they may fill it with something potentially harmful (inappropriate peers, harmful video games, bad TV, etc.).  Dinner time is sacred at our house.  We play games and read together as often as possible.  They are allowed TV and video game time, but we carefully audit both and there are time limits.  We engage in conversation about the real world and never cease to be amazed at how interested they are in politics and other issues.  Often, they just want our time and an active listening ear.
  • Encourage independent thinking and creativity.  We provide guidelines, but also encourage the boys to come up with their own answers to questions.  We give them ample opportunity to make decisions and encourage them to think creatively.  Instead of telling them the answers to questions, we often respond with “What do you think is the right answer?”
  • Encourage them to dream.  We figure if we encourage them to have their own dreams and goals, they will be less likely to follow the pack mentality in their schools.  Their goals may change each month (our experience), but at least they are being genuine.  When they share a goal or dream with us, we can then talk about what they will need to do in order to achieve it.
  • Don’t try to keep up with the Jones.  We honestly don’t care what our neighbors and friends have in the way of material possessions.  We weren’t raised that way and it just isn’t a priority.  Our kids see this and hopefully learn from our example.  To reinforce it, we often discuss the family budget, saving and giving money to the Church and other causes.  They are also encouraged to save up for things they might want with their own money.  Christmas and birthdays are the only gift-giving days in our house.
  • Encourage gratitude.  Be grateful for what we have and encourage this through involving the kids in volunteer activities that help those less fortunate than us.  We say what and who we are grateful for during prayer time.  Our observation is that grateful children are less likely to be greedy children and they won’t covet what advertisers and their friends say they should have.
  • Embrace old-fashioned thinking.  Yes, we actually teach our kids to open the doors for ladies and senior citizens, to say please and thank you and to write thank you notes when they receive a gift!  Respecting us, other people and themselves is also critically important.  It goes much deeper of course, but we had some pretty good lessons from our parents and living in “modern times” doesn’t necessarily mean that we have to throw out what works. (Read entire post.)


1 comment:

julygirl said...

.....Conformity to bad role models is more like it these days. Socially, there was supposedly more conformity in past eras, but it was conformity to beauty and grace in behavior as well as lifestyle.