Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Teach Your Children, Part II

Welcome, Trish! Trish contacted me via e-mail. She agrees that something must be done about the health care crisis at the grass roots level -that's us! (see "Solving the Health Care Crisis @ Home")
I let Trish know that I've mailed a letter to the Pa State Medical Assoc., asking for assistance/advice/direction. I'm also working on a couple of other ideas.
As I've said, the longest, most arduous journey starts with one step. Thanks for stepping up, Trish!

While being treated (!) to lunch yesterday, I noticed a little fellow of about 4-years-old enthusiastically entering the restaurant. I've gotten to the delightful point in life, where if a kid isn't behaving like a demon from Hell, I can appreciate, even admire, even smile at a tike expressing his or her individuality and confidence.
This little guy literally buzzed in (he was making a buzzing noise) and glided directly to the ice cream station of the Chinese Buffet. Within mere moments, he was buzzing back to the dining area -directly to the booth he was sharing with Mom and Dad- with two hands holding a generous mountain of chocolate ice cream balanced quite skillfully atop a waffle cone. Yum!
The garlic chicken is wonderful, the egg rolls crispy, the Chinese cabbage cooked to perfection, but to me, the splendor of a chocolate ice cream come is unsurpassed, and naturally, I'm a diabetic!
As I enjoyed dessert vicariously though the little guy, it struck me, as I have been similarly struck in the recent past, that by allowing their son to go straight to the ice cream, Mom and Dad may well have been setting an example of parenting at its best.
The little fellow moved swiftly, but he wasn't running or yelling or cutting in front of other diners. Once seated with his cone, he engaged in acceptably-toned conversation with Mom and Dad.
The little guy appeared to be very healthy, not fat or too thin. He demonstrated intelligence by his ability to calmly converse, and very well-developed fine motor skills in the ice-cream scooping department. By all indications, he's a well-rounded, physically and mentally fit little tike.
More importantly, he's a self-confident, fearless and aware-of-his-surroundings child.
Having been a shy little kid, and having had a first child who was in certain situations painfully shy, I rejoice when I see a child who is confident at an early age.
Having often been afraid as a child, I revel in witnessing a kid who is in control and polite, but fearless. Mom and Dad never let him out of their sight, and the tike knew not to enter the restroom without his Dad.
Having stressed and toiled and sometimes battled to raise kids who behaved in public while eating the healthy food first - kids who usually waited for Mom to make the first move - I applaud these parents for either consciously or instinctively knowing that as long as Hell isn't breaking lose, it's OK to eat your ice cream first, or to eat ice cream only on a special occasion, such as lunch out with Mom and Dad.
Now that my first three kids are all adults and the younger guy is 11, and sadly, their Dad is long dead, I've recently come to realize that parents shouldn't sweat the small stuff. I had a great time with my older kids for the most part, but I really regret not having been lighter and less stressed on many occasions.
The memories of raising my kids are wonderful treasures, but the treasure box would be much fuller, indeed brimming over, if I had just stepped back, taken a moment to breath and to simply observe and be delighted.
I had the brains to realize that letting my kids sleep late and watching them sleep late during summer vacations and days off provided everlasting moments of beauty. I was aware enough to conclude that watching their every triumph through the black and white screen of a video camera, while spasmodically maneuvering for the best shot, was no where near as good as the actual moments and memories.
These days, my 11-year-old and I often eat dessert first, and on occasion, dessert only.
If that little fellow in the restaurant remembers yesterday at all, he'll remember a happy, stress-free lunch with Mom and Dad - certainly a moment to treasure.
He'll also remember that his Mom and Dad taught him to be confident, self-sufficient and at ease in his surroundings - in my opinion, an invaluable lesson that's profound in its simplicity and wisdom.
What do you think? What's the most important lesson that you've taught your (a) child(ren)?

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