Friday, September 6, 2013

Raised Right

I see lots of Facebook "memes" (I put that in quotes because people think they are memes, but aren't even close) that lecture people on "growing up right".  You know what I am talking about...

I drank from the water hose as a kid.
I went and played outside as a kid.
My mom beat the shit out of me as a kid.

I would like to say that I grew up right.  My mom taught me life lessons along the vein of "I accept people the way they are".  Sure, it frustrates me from time to time that my kids don't play outside even 1% of how much I did as a kid.  I also remember when the Nintendo came out...I wouldn't have gone outside for 5 minutes if I had owned one of those things.  In fact, I can remember going over to a friend's house and sitting in a room with 10 other 5th graders watching someone play Super Mario Bros.

Probably the best thing my mom ever did for me was refuse to buy me a video game system.  Mostly was because we couldn't afford it, but she also didn't want me spending all of my time indoors.  But there were kids who did stay indoors...and they turned out fine.  The second best thing my parents did for me was to buy a computer...and I spent a lot of time on it, and it shaped who I am and made me good at what I do.

You have to just trust that your kids will be who they are.  You can guide them, but forcing them to do something they hate will only generate resentment.  The number one thing you can do for your kids is to just be there.  Be there when they need you, and be there when they don't.  Trust but verify.  Keep them out of trouble with your presence.  Ask them question after question about their life, their loves, their problems.  You may not get much out of them, but they will remember when they are older that you talked to them and genuinely cared.

That is all it takes!
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