In this three-part series we will look at three keys to great parenting:
- To hover over beginnings.
- To teach the process of self-denial.
- To dangle the carrot of inspiration.
Part One: Hover over beginnings
All of life has velocity. Therefore, the direction of the beginnings is profound in its implications. Homeschoolers all have a vague notion of this, or we wouldn't be homeschooling. We've essentially said to ourselves: "I'm not going to farm out the raising of my child during his most formative years to a complete stranger (or a parade of strangers through the years) of just any ideological and moral persuasion. I'm simply not going to do it." The various "creatures/ teachers" who could wind up teaching our children, if we just happen to be in their path, especially in these days, can be downright frightening. As a principal I fired a few of these "wolves in sheep's clothing"—and that was a few decades ago (before cultural norms had sunk as far as they have today). If you knew their private lives you'd have been stunned.
Even when we have our children at home, however, there are mountains of details of significant importance that we can miss. Our success lies in our waking up! We shan’t be asleep at the wheel. A diligent hovering over all beginnings, as many of them as we can get to, just as thoroughly as we can, gives us at least a fighting chance of impacting our progeny. Olympic coaches know this "in spades," as do the parents of concert pianists—they both start their trainings in utero, if at all possible!
From the first tangle of shoelaces to the first attempt at teeth-brushing, to the first penmanship strokes, to the first bad movie we turn off, to the proper handling of their first lie (from our little darlings?), we plot a lifetime trajectory. Be there—up close and personal. If, for example, we resolutely land on the first lie and make the "fur fly" and "nail it" with a gripping story or two of a fellow in a penitentiary who was once a child their age, we significantly diffuse the chance of there ever being a second one. Beginnings are everything in embryo. So, be deliberate. Be causative, not casual. Outstanding parenting does not despise the day of small beginnings, it grips the day of small beginnings—eyes peeled in every corner, ever focused on keeping the end in view.
Next post in this 3-part series: self-denial.