Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Mother's Load

Do you want to know why I am so consumed by motherhood? Yes, I love the kids and want to raise them up right. But have you noticed how many things could go wrong these days? Not just a little wrong, like oh no, little Billy is going to become a painter, but seriously wrong, like little Billy might get abducted or become a serial killer. Just read the newspaper or watch the news; there's so many worrisome things facing kids. That's why I resolve to do right by them, to do everything in my power (which I now admit is not much) so that they don't suffer and/or become bad people.

Take this book I'm reading now: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Stephen Covey. Here are some information and quotables from this book.

The top disciplinary problems according to public school teachers in 1940 were: talking out of turn, chewing gum, making noise, running in the halls, cutting in line, dress code infractions, and littering. In 1990, the list was: drug abuse, alcohol abuse, pregnancy, suicide, rape, robbery, assault.

"When you raise your children, you're also raising your grandchildren. Patterns tend to persist."

"You have the potential of being the only really solid thing in their lives."

"The role of parents is a unique one, a sacred stewardship in life. Is there really anything that would outweigh the importance of fulfilling that stewardship well?"

"Good faith is absolutely insufficient. Good intentions will never replace bad judgment."

"Today the average child watches 7 hours of television per day. By the end of grade school he's seen over 8000 murders and 100,000 acts of violence. During this time he's spent an average of 5 minutes a day with his father and 20 minutes with his mother."

"This is perhaps the greatest role of parenting. More than directing and telling children what to do, it's helping them connect with their own gifts - particularly conscience." (how in tarnation do I do that?)

"If we don't take charge of [our children], someone or something else will. And that something is a powerful, turbulent, amoral family-unfriendly environment. This is what will shape your family if you do not."

Scared sufficiently? And that's just to the middle of Habit 3. I can hardly wait to see what other tidbits await me.

So why don't you just not read the book, you ask. Because it's got elements of truth, if not all of it. I see these things he talks about with my own eyes, not just through the TV lens. Because it's got great ideas for how to avoid these terrible results (hence the family meetings). Most importantly, because I can't take a risk, not with my children.

Parenthood really does require a proactive mindset (Habit #1). Otherwise, you wake up after 18 years and realize that you wanted to do better by your kids but it's too late. That will not happen with us!

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