Friday, October 28, 2011

Common Sense Dad: Let Kids Be Tough - Because They Already Are

Welcome to the first Common Sense Dad Friday! 
Naturally, my first spotlighted dad is one of my husband

Our children are our future. It is our jobs as parents to prepare them for the life ahead of them.  From an early age, we have the opportunity to teach our children how to be tough; and it is our responsibility to ensure that they learn this invaluable trait.  The funny thing is, children are born tough,and they learn weakness and fear from their parents.  When I say “tough,” I am not suggesting that we raise all of our children to be bullies or heartless robots.  The “tough” I am referring to is found in our day to day activities. 

When I was growing up, I loved a good electric storm.  Being from New  Hampshire these storms were rarely of any great significance, but I always hoped for a bright flash and a loud crack.  My younger siblings had mixed feelings about these storms; at least one of my sisters was petrified by them.  One night I got outwardly excited about an upcoming storm, we set up pillows on a bed and waited for the storm to hit.  The positive anticipation was like that of going to the movies, and it changed the entire experience. 

Fast forward about 20 years and a storm was coming our way, Little P and Little C had no idea what electrical storms were about.  Living considerably south of NH, storms are a bit more intense.  The three of us were outside playing as the winds picked up, at this point, they knew something was going on.  I told them that there was going to be “HEAVY” (which at the time was universal for “BIG” in our house) rain, and with the rain was going to be HEAVY lights and HEAVY bangs.  Their response was: “oh wow.”  I told them we would go inside the house and watch all of the heavy lights and bangs, and watch them we did.  They enjoyed it even more than I imagined. 

A couple strikes were extremely close, the type that stir fears that have been ingrained into us over the past million years or so, but even then, they just looked to me and observed my reaction (wow!) and mimicked it from then on.  Little P and C enjoyed it so much that they didn’t want to go to bed (there is typically no push-back on bed time in our house).  I made a deal with them that I would open the blinds and they could watch the storm from Little P’s bed.  They ran up and laid down next to each other, I pulled the blanket over them.  They were so focused on waiting for the next bolt of lightning; they never noticed that I left the room.  When we checked on them that night,they were right were I left them, at the foot of Little P’s bed, facing the window, passed out.

How many ten year olds cry when they scrape their knee?  How many are scared of thunder?  Children are naturally tough; they can endure anything we throw at them so long as we show them the way to handle themselves.  Whether it is a “boo-boo”, a storm, or a parent traveling for an extended period of time, kids are born with the capacity to overcome hardship.  It is our duty as parents to instruct them in how to approach the difficulties of life, we can teach them to fall back on weakness, or rise above with strength.   

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