"Preparing the ground for the future happiness of their child is frequently a puzzle to many parents in which it is hard to know the best key to success. Do I let them find their own way? Do I show them the right way and insist they follow it? Do I let them make their own mistakes while watching from the sidelines? Do I interfere in their decisions when I know they will feel pain as a consequence?
Raising children is an incredibly hard and risky business in which no cumulative wisdom is gained. In many ways, each generation seems destined to repeat the mistakes the previous one made. My mother was the oldest of seven children and so am I, and being a product of both nuture and nature, it is only natural that we share much more than genetic inheritance alone might decree.
My mother spent the time that she was supposed to be a kid actully raising children, her younger brothers and sisters. She could be as tough as nails when times were hard and as soft as butter whenever life was kinder to her. She always spoke her mind, was honest in her dealings with neighbours and when asked for advice, she provided it directly and without much varnish. I am her son and my son is mine! When I look at my children, it always gives me a peculiar feeling to catch a glimps of my parent' lives before I was born.
It is a fact that parents either profit or pay for what their children become; hence the importance of raising them properly. Try as hard as we may; despite 'making them do' when we stand over them and lay down the law, we cannot make them nice, we cannot make them good, we cannot make them sincere, trustworthy and honest in their dealings with others and we cannot make them believe! Only by patience, kindness, love and consistency in example are we able to affect them enough that they may eventually choose to do those things.
Though there may seem to be ample time for preparation when they are playful infants, the time will steal past you before you know it. Childhood is the shortest of seasons and it comes round, but once. All the more important therefore for getting it as right as possible first time as it is far easier to build strong children than to repair broken adults.
Only a child knows how good or bad a father and mother was, as the mark of any parent is how we treat our children when no one is looking. A large part of me believes that it is harder to bring up children properly today than it was in my time. Today, material consumerism militates constantly against maternal instinct and the mother finds it easier to pamper and overindulge than to take time out to correct, advise and discipline. With the amount of money at a parent's disposal today, it is far more difficult raising children now than the way I was raised. When you strip any parent of the material assets at their disposal, all they are left with to devote to their offspring is time and self. This is what my mother gave me in abundance.
The done thing by many modern-day parents to stop their child whinging is to give them more money, gadgets and permission to no longer eat at the family table instead of hard love, parential patience, guidance and time. This is effectivley little better than parents filling the nurseries of their newly born infants to the brim as soon as they first get them out of the maternity ward with everything money can buy, and then placing a sign on their door that reads: 'Checkout time is 18 years. Please leave your room as tidy as you found it upon arrival!'
In many ways, a new child in the home is like a new puppy; it's not just for Christmas!" William Forde: June 14th, 2015.