I came across this this blog post over on Zen Habits. It’s called “The Rules of Effortless Parenting” and I clicked on it with much curiosity. I agreed with the post wholeheartedly, with one exception, but more on the exception later. The ones that resonated with me particularly were these:
Teach them to solve problems. Yes! I have always been a self-starter, and my parents encouraged me and my brother to figure things out for ourselves. They would give input on our homework, but they would never in a million years do our homework for us. They also taught us that we could learn how to do anything- sew, fish, start a business, learn a language, you name it. That was a valuable lesson. I feel that I can learn about anything or learn how to do anything I put my mind to.
Play with them outside, and be active. I have already written about my strong feelings about outdoor play. Fresh air is good for kids. Running, dirt, mud puddles, sticks and twigs are good for children. Video games are bad for children.
Read with them and read in front of them. My daughter and I have story time every night. I am at the library at least twice a week getting books for us to read together. My son is only 18 months, so he’s a little young for it, but I can’t wait til all three of us can snuggle up with a good book.
The one rule I would change is Show them how to be passionate. I would change it to Show them how to be COMpassionate. American society is a bit self-absorbed for my tastes (Kardashian wedding, anyone?), so I want to teach my children to live in opposition to the dominant culture. Volunteering, talking about how lucky we are, and encouraging my kids to learn about global justice issues will hopefully turn them into compassionate adults.