by Lodovica Trevisan
In every culture and time period, the family has stood as the most fundamental human institution and commitment to family has been a core value.
This commonly held value sometimes seems tossed aside today. As our nation struggles with the effects of family breakdown and youth violence, more people call for a re-examination of our priorities and fundamental values.
Parents' Day offers an opportunity to recognize and promote parenting as a central vocation for families and communities. More than just a time to celebrate, it's an occasion to make a statement about what is important in our society.
Studies confirm that the role of parents is crucial in nurturing children. It requires investment, focus and commitment, by individuals and by society as a whole.
Look to the past at the great parents in your community, today at your own parenting and to a future where stable, loving families promote parenting as the most important job they'll ever have.
Diane Loomans, founder of The Quantum Life Institute, says, "If I had my child to raise over again, I'd build self-esteem first and the house later; I'd finger paint more and point the finger less; I would do less correcting and more connecting; I'd take my eyes off my watch and watch with my eyes; I would care to know less and know to care more; I'd take more hikes and fly more kites; I'd stop playing serious and seriously play; I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars; I'd do more hugging and less tugging; I'd see the oak tree in the acorn more often; I would be firm less often and affirm much more; I'd model less about the love of power, and more about the power of love."
Being a parent is one of the most fulfilling experiences a person can have. Being a great parent moves it even further up the list. We asked our members to look back and share examples of supportive parenting and what makes Parents' Day meaningful to them. Here's what stood out to our members.
Being a good role model: Sarah says, "I try to be a good role model for my two kids. Every night I ask myself, 'If the children had only my behavior to learn from, what would I have taught them?' It's certainly encouraged me to think before I speak or act!"
Knowing your child: "My mom seemed to tailor her parenting to my personality. I had a hard time moving from one activity to another. She'd give me a warning ahead of time. With my brother, she would just swoop in and say, 'Let's go!' and he was happy. I learned that kids don't need identical treatment and have brought that into my own parenting," Steve shares.
Learning how to set limits: "My parents tended to set few limits. My wife's parents seemed to make rules just to show they were the boss. We try to make rules and structures that make our son feel safe and secure, but still allow self-control and self-reliance," James says.
Being a pillar of support: "My parents told me that I was the best thing in their life and I believe them. They were even positive when they corrected, telling me that they knew I loved my brother more than I was showing now or that they knew that wasn't my best effort. Their support and confidence gave me the strength to deal with the unpleasant stuff that life regularly hands out," Mandie says.
We'd love to hear your thoughts. What do you think makes a great parent? What makes Parents' Day meaningful to you?