Hello from the author of “Raising Amazing Children (… While Having a Life of Your Own)” Deborah Drezon Carroll:
Our daughter’s wedding was a glorious event for us, as you might imagine. After it was over, though, one thing stuck in my mind. People, our friends and other guests whom we didn’t know, repeatedly came up to us and said, “Your daughters are amazing. What’s your secret?”
While that is a beautiful sentiment, and may even be true (if I do say so myself), I wondered: Are they really amazing? We have three daughters who are really just lovely people with good hearts and good souls. They weren’t exceptional students (they were good students for the most part) or outstanding athletes (they did try, though); they didn’t cure cancer in our basement, or discover the secret to solving the world hunger problem. They didn’t win scholarships or attend Ivy League colleges. They just were good kids (most of the time but certainly not without challenges along the way) who grew up to be teachers.
And that’s when I realized: maybe they are amazing.
If the goal of being a good parent is to do the job well enough for our kids to leave us someday and be happy people who are independent and live with integrity and decency, and if achieving that is amazing, maybe we were all amazing.
I thought about how we achieved such greatness. What was our parenting secret?
My husband and I had both been teachers early in our careers. We learned a great deal about how children develop. We learned strategies for facilitating growth in young people by treating them with respect, trust, faith, and high expectations. And, when we had our first child we got some very good advice.
The advice was to find ways to integrate our child into our lives rather than turning our lives completely upside down to integrate ourselves into our child’s life. In other words, we were advised to raise our kids while living life the way we loved it before our kids were born as much as possible. We were told to find ways to keep doing the things we loved so we could share them with our kids. And so we did. Whatever we did, we invited our kids to do it with us. From cleaning the house to traveling across the country on a camping trip (Yes, we did go on a cross country trip with three kids under the age of 5!), if it was something we did before we had kids, we did it with our kids. We tried not to give up any of the things that mattered to us before we became parents, we just found ways to incorporate our children into those activities.
As a result, our children learned life skills by experiencing life with us. They learned to love reading and writing as we do so they value education. They can do simple home repair, they all did their own laundry since they were very little, and each can negotiate a tight deal of any sort. They understand the value of work and the need to budget money as they watched us do both and learned by seeing our struggles and our successes. They learned compassion and caring for family, friends, and strangers as they lived both on a daily basis. In short, they learned how to live life by living it with us and witnessing the ins and outs of making a life work.
The simple tasks of everyday living provide parents with opportunities to teach children something of value each day. By inviting your kids to work alongside as you do things like shopping, housecleaning, gardening, cooking, home repair, traveling and more, you both win. You’ll save time as you’ll have helping hands to get the jobs done faster, your child will learn priceless life skills, and you’ll all have more time to enjoy life together.
By incorporating your kids into your life, you get to continue living a life that makes you happy. Happy parents raise happy children. Your kids will thank you for it… some day!
Raising Amazing Children (…While Having a Life of Your Own). The title sums up our parenting secret.
To learn more about Debby and her book, visit her website!