Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Studies in Parenting

My Mother used to say (and still does) "Just wait till you have kids one day", implying my lack of understanding about her role as parent. It is true, I can't understand even a fraction of the love a parent feels for their own child. I don't have kids of my own just yet. I have to be very careful not to make judgments because I haven't walked in the shoes of a parent (except when I played dress up). But I can do one thing; research!

I spend a good amount of my time reading articles about parenting and "interviewing" new parents, especially moms. I am interested in gathering information about pregnancy to raising teenagers. Though I am not a parent, my brothers and sisters use to call me "Jr. Mom" because I was the oldest daughter of six (eight including step-siblings). My youngest sister is eight years younger than I and my youngest brother is ten years younger so I know what it takes to survive with young kids in the house! I know what is like having infants around, what toddlers are like, potty training mishaps, nap times, meal time, what to do when a three year old eats a glass Christmas ornament, and how to install child proof locks on cabinets, toilets and bedroom doors. I know I am ahead of the game for someone without kids, but really I have no idea. That's why I have taken to research!

I can't get over how much time in America we spend on educating ourselves in a certain vocation, yet there is little time dedicated to learning about parenting! I would argue nine months is not sufficient. We have a crisis of the family going on in our country. From divorce rates to pediatric depression. Say what you want, but this is an important issue. And the only way to solve it is to be educated about what parenting is and how to do it well. We can't cry out "I didn't know" anymore because there are so many free resources available to us now. Libraries are full of parenting videos, books, guides, and studies on just about any family topic you can think of. Community centers and churches often have classes and seminars. Not to mention the knew resource of the Internet. There is so much we can learn about family and it is never too late.

I am going to end with two quotes that I believe touch on the heart of this issue. We can sit around and discuss the problems of the world all day but we will never solve them because we are ignoring the heart of our countries problems. The brokenness of the family.We can treat the symptoms all we want but we won't get better unless we treat the cause of the symptoms.

"To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right." - Confucius

"The family is the corner stone of our society. More than any other force it shapes the attitude, the hopes, the ambitions, and the values of the child. And when the family collapses it is the children that are usually damaged. When it happens on a massive scale the community itself is crippled. So, unless we work to strengthen the family, to create conditions under which most parents will stay together, all the rest — schools, playgrounds, and public assistance, and private concern — will never be enough" - Lyndon Johnson

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