As we said in the last Lazy Parenting essay, children must be ruled – they simply do not arrive equipped to fend for or make wise choices for themselves. If you are the parent, that is your job – to use your resources, wisdom, and experience to provide an environment in which they can flourish.
Whoa, you say, I don’t have much of any of those! Since I don’t know all the answers, maybe it’s best to just let my child kind of do what he likes.
Pardon me for saying so, but that’s one of the dumbest ideas around. You may not have much wisdom or experience, but you have more than your baby or toddler, at least, and happily you do have excellent resources available to you if you will look for them. (Hint: they aren’t found in most parenting magazines or talk shows.)
Resource #1: You probably already own a copy of the ultimate owner’s manual. It is the one written about how every human being’s life should be lived from start to finish, and the author is not some technical writer prodded by liability experts to include such gems as, “Microwaved foods are hot” and “Do not sleep while operating the hair dryer.” Instead, it is God, the creator of the people he writes about. He knows us inside and out. He understands the time and society in which we live, and best of all He loves us even more than we can love each other or ourselves. He even tells us He is our father, which makes Him the ultimate parent, the ultimate resource.
Resource #2: Successful parents — You have to do a little investigative work here. Look at their “product” – their kids. If they are young, are they brats? Are they generally happy and content, and not just because they always get their way? If they are older, are they productive, polite, servers, and self-controlled? If they are grown, what is the fruit in their own lives?
When you find some good parents, use them! Ask questions, and listen carefully to the answers. Ask them what they wish they’d done differently. Observe them – what they do and say and what they do not do and say. What is the tone in the home? What do they emphasize? And, yes, where do you see things that could be done better?
Whether you know nothing about child-rearing or think you already have everything all figured out, a wise parent utilizes good resources.
In the comments, please share some great advice or a good example you learned from a parenting resource.