As time goes by, I am amazed of the effect that a good role model can have in a child’s life. Children, adolescents, and grown people are the product of two guardians committing to there well being. I recently heard a quote from a father lamenting his absence from his children’s lives during WWII. He went on to say that half the job of being a father was just providing warm houses, placing shoes on feet, providing hot dinners, and just showing up.
This idea of just being present resonated with me. I realized that what I treasured most about my father was the time he gave to me. I remember the early homework sessions, the shared stories, and the day I thought my heart would burst with happiness. My best friend Tracey and I were jumping rope in the driveway with a bunch of neighborhood kids. My parents arrived home and parked on the street so that we could continue jumping. My dad set down his bag of groceries and jumped into our turning rope. I was stunned and delighted. That day has been etched in my mind as one of the happiest times of my life. I wondered why this memory still seems so clear. While it is wrapped in a color washed patina, it is still filled with all of the scents, light, and joy of that day.
I think I understand now. Time is a precious commodity. It is the most valuable thing we have to sell in this life. When men shower their attention and love on a child, the child is enriched and made important in their world. They are validated by the unspoken approval given when a parent deems them worthy of time and consideration.
Men so often are absent. We expect them to be men and provide in acceptable venues. We question their manliness if they do not bring home considerable “bacon”. I believe that men bring a more valuable currency to the family. They bring their time and energy. That is what will change lives, our planet, and our children. Time spent versus money spent is what we should measure a successful man by.
Any boy can have a paper route…it takes a man to raise a family.
Watch where you sit on the first day of school. You might be sitting next to your new best friend or your maid of honor. It happened to me it can happen to you.
As the school year begins for me and my new charges, I am reminded of that fateful day that I met my first best friend, Jackie. I was new to Brooklyn, New York and it was unlike any place that I had ever been before. Everyone looked like me. What a novelty. No one looked like me in Toronto, Canada at the time. Unfortunately, no one sounded like me in Brooklyn that day in 1971.
I had shown up that day in my prettiest dress and my white hair ribbons. My fellow classmates gazed back at me in jeans, t-shirts, and Chuck Taylors. When the teachers introduced me to the class, everyone gaped at me. Not a good start by any means. But, to add insult to injury I opened my mouth and believe me Brooklyn did not come out. It could have been a miserable time except for the kindness of friends. I met one of my dearest lifelong friends on that day, and it has made all the difference in my world. Love you, Jackie. Always will.
<Australia’s Sun Coast
There comes a moment in every mothers life when she realizes that the boy she took care of as a child has become a man. Oh, there were hints, whiffs, and physical manifestations that the growing process had begun along the way. But, one day your son does something that speaks to your heart. That moment tells you that your boy is now a man. While there were hints as I said before, the pivotal moment occurred for me last year.
Every year Nathaniel and I travel together with students to far away places. We interview and then prepare them throughout the year. The real test is how they conduct themselves in a foreign land away from parents and family. Our goal is to create a temporary family unit while they are away from their own. But, as you know, students get homesick and every child is open to some high jinks. After a couple of days into our expedition to Australia, I noticed that all the young men were straining to be with Nathaniel or to at least emulate him. Some of the girls developed crushes, but the most important thing was the comfort and safety he provided. Nathaniel helped heal some of the homesickness which is a natural part of international travel. The most eye opening part of our trip was the way that Nathaniel rallied the male members of our delegation to feel responsible for our delegation. All the boys helped with the management of our luggage and the safety of our female members. My son was showing boys how to become men.
Nathaniel was a funny, athletic, polite, moody, game playing boy. Nathaniel is now a musical, kind, and thoughtful man. His maturation has been a wonderful thing to behold.
Every change in a childs life alters their future. Like a stone dropped in still water, the ripple of change is far reaching and has life altering consequences. Relocation can open new worlds, enhance learning, and allow one to re-invent oneself.
Engaging kids in their future gives them the ability to see all moves in a positive light. Everything that happens can lead them to the dream they want to make happen. In order for you to help your child envision their future, you have to get clear about your future and your vision for your family.Having a plan for your family allows you to make essential decisions and to chart your course through this life. A family mission statement will let your family know where you’re going, how you will get there, and what will be waiting there for you. Even toddlers understand when the ideas are broken down for them. Setting goals is a powerful exercise that is good for the family and teaches personal actualization skills. Goals can be as simple as:
- We will save all of our change this year so we can donate them to a charity.
- We will have or travel to a family reunion in 3 years.
Working together on goalsand taking part in the success of the family allow children to envision themselves as lifelong achievers.
Another way to envsion children in their future is for them to see how and where you make your living. Work is often an abstract concept for children and the actual experience of seeing you work helps them make sense of the world. This will lay the ground work with which they will use to plan their future.
Finally, allow your children (when possible) to visit your elders. The relationships that are transgenerational are especially rich.
The visions my parents had for me and my family were so big. I feel that we far exceeded them. The visions you have for your family will be realized and your children engaged no matter where in the world you take them.