This is a repost from about four years ago, but I thought it was pretty good stuff and certainly bears repeating.
Boy, don't I sound like I know what I'm talking about? But you know, I think I do have a couple of ideas on raising good kids and I do get a lot of positive comments from people on my kids, so hopefully I'm doing something right.
I took my ten-year-old Blake to a fundraising meeting with me this weekend and I was so proud of him. Several people commented on how personable and polite he was and that is praise any mother loves to hear, especially when they are talking about your hyperactive, ADD-loaded son!
We were there for a couple of hours and he sat very nicely in a corner playing quietly with his Legos and his video games. I did have to speak gently to him when he was following the hostess's cat around the house, but that was pretty minor and she didn't seem to mind. She was one of the ones complimenting him and she's a former special ed teacher, so I figure she knows what she's talking about.
Anyway, here is my big secret. THESE PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE LIVING IN YOUR HOUSE FOR AT LEAST THE NEXT 18 YEARS! If you are going to be dealing with them every day of your life for all these years, you want to make damn sure that they are pleasant to live with.
If they are sullen or whiny, or bad-tempered, they are not going to be very fun to live with. A good rule of thumb is that if you enjoy spending time with your children, so will other people. And on the other hand, if you DON'T enjoy spending time with them, neither will anyone else!
Most of the time, my guys are a blast to be with and I never know what funny thing they are going to come up with next, so I enjoy being with them - most of the time. And that's about the best you can expect. If they are terrific 80% of the time, somewhat annoying 10% of the time, and a real pain in the butt only 10% of the time, that's not a bad ratio.
Here's my other secret - just love the heck out of them. I read something once that has stuck with me ever since - Children are like a bucket filled with sand. As they go through life, the world is going to poke little holes in their bucket all the time and let the sand leak out. Your job as a parent is to fill their bucket up with so much sand that nothing in this world can drain away all of it. That's my mission in life right there.
That's what my mother did for me. My Dad wasn't a big presence in my life and we didn't have a lot of friends or other relatives around to provide support for us, but that was OK. I know that she loved me completely and unconditionally every moment of her life, and that was enough to fill up my bucket. And now that she's gone, it's my turn to pass that same love on to my children too.
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