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Children Are The Greatest Teachers

By on March 30, 2011 in Parenting & Education

edenFor most parents, children just happen. Sometimes they are planned from the point of view of the decision to have them but very few parents plan much beyond that. Most of us grow up by default.

Bringing up children is a huge undertaking that most parents give little consideration to. For the most part we adopt the same strategies that our parents used for us. We might consciously wish to do better or differently from our parents but most of the time we run subconscious programs that we learnt from our parents. Even those parents studying and trying to implement progressive ideas on raising children will often slide into the old patterns of their parents and not even realize it.

One of the most disconcerting things for a parent is the sudden recognition of many of their own bad traits and faults in their children. We do not always acknowledge these and sometimes we are in denial, but deep in our subconscious we see a reflection of ourselves that we may not like.

The new scapegoat has been genes with a prevalent belief that even personality traits are in our genetic make-up which we have little or no control over. Thus not only can we avoid responsibility for many of our shortcomings by attributing them to genes but we can also make the same excuses for our children. Well the big news is that the latest scientific research has blown that genetic boogieman out of the test tube. It is now understood that environment determines everything and as parents we are responsible for the environment we provide for our children.

When it was the genes we were powerless and as parents, our only real responsibility became providing for the physical needs of the child and sending them to school. There it was the responsibility of the teachers to educate them and, if religious, then also sending them to Sunday school where it was the responsibility of the church to instill morals.

There has been so much espoused over the past few decades absolving parents of the responsibility for the outcome of their children. We all know of parents who seemed to provide the best possible family home only to see their child turn to drugs, crime or otherwise become dysfunctional. These parents might punish themselves with the question of what they might have done wrong or could have done better and the truth is they often did the best they could and knew how.

The environmental understanding puts the ball back in the parent’s court and with this responsibility comes power. It gives parents the opportunity to take an active and creative role in bringing up their children and to move away from the passive model that attributes responsibilities to others.

I say children are the greatest teaches because they provide an opportunity for us to learn more about ourselves and so better understand the human condition, if we take the time to observe them. The problem is that most parents are too busy with their lives and do not consider there is anything they can learn from their children but rather their children are there to learn from them.

If you take the time to listen and learn from your children then both your lives will be enriched and the likelihood of them growing up to be to be happy, well adjusted individuals is greatly increased.

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