to Main Page
is not information,
Knowing something is not enough. That knowledge has to be brought into our lives
in some practical way. That is why establishing a relationship with parents as
a parent educator is more important than throwing books at them. I created FireWorks (a "conversational
course" on anger management in adult-child relationships) with that
goal in mind.
In the life ahead of you, keep your capacity for faith and belief, but let your
judgment watch what you believe.
Keep your love of life, but throw away your fear of death. Life must be loved
or it is lost, but it should never be loved too well.
Keep your wonder at great and noble things, like sunlight and thunder, the rain
and the stars, and the greatness of heroes.
Keep your heart hungry for new knowledge. Keep your hatred of a lie, and keep
your power of indignation. . .
I am ashamed to leave you an uncomfortable world, but someday it will be better.
And when that day comes, you will thank God for the greatest blessing man can
receive, living in peace.
Letter from an executed Yugoslav partisan to his unborn child
in World War II
- The best exersize for strengthening
the heart is reaching down and lifting people up.
need to think more about "we" and a little less of "me." Taking
time to care is what makes us humane and... stronger.
- A ship in harbor is
safe--but that is not what ships are for. John A. Shedd
- Seeing a child leave the family harbor
to sail in the world can be scary. We know there are storms and
pirates out there that they will have to face. We can cheer them
on from shore, but our children must ultimately do their sailing
on their own.
- Man's maturity is to
regain the seriousness that he had as a child at play. Nietzche
- Let's hope that all parents rediscover
the greatness of play this holiday season. The best gift children
can receive is their parents' presence.
- ...character does not
require religious faith. But it does require the conviction of
truth made sacred, abiding as an authoritative presence within
consciousness and life, reinforced by habits institutionalized
within a moral community. James Davidson Hunter, The Death
of Character: Moral Education in an Age Without Good or Evil
- Moral ambiguity does not benefit young
children. If we want our children to learn to care about and for
others, they have to see and hear the message from adults who
are a part of their world that all life is sacred and worthy of
respect and care. Hitting hurts and will not be tolerated. Clear
messages about such matters can be reexplored as the child grows
older. There may be times when you have to hit to defend yourself
or to stop someone else from being seriously harmed by another.
But these adjustments are beyond a young child's comprehension.
- Injustice, swift, erect,
Sweeps the wide earth, and tramples o'er mankind. Homer, Iliad
- I think most citizens feel discouraged
about the state of juvenile justice in our country. Most people,
I believe, have little confidence that juveniles who are brought
before the courts will be faced with experiences that will impress
upon them the pain they have caused their victims. Nor will they
receive the professional services necessary to enable them to
become more responsible and caring citizens.
- I can't say I was ever
lost, but I was bewildered once for three days. Daniel Boone
- Raising a child can be bewildering at
times. There are moments when we might feel lost. But if we stop
and think and talk to someone we can trust we might discover the
right path to take.
- If at critical times
man's inhumanity to man seemed to gain ascendency, there has always
been a Hillel, a Francis of Assisi, a Pasteur, a Nightengale to
remind us that the chief intimation of our immortality is our
unique human power for loving our fellow man.
- Our approach to childrearing depends
significantly on our assumptions about human nature. A parent
who believes a child is born with an aggressive, selfish nature
will view the imposition of authority as necessary to control
such impulses. The parent who believes a child is born with an
inclination to be kind will view authority as a form of shaping
and giving substance to what the child has to offer. Each of these
views (and the full range between them) are viewed as "truth"
to those who hold them.
- The best and most beautiful
things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must
be felt with the heart. Helen Keller
- This is the challenge for so many parents.
We have to look beyond words and actions to understand what our
children are trying to tell us. The closed heart can never really
know a child. The open heart invites a child to enter our life.
Without it, our children will be strangers, forever lost to us
in a personal way.
- The principal thing
in the world is to keep the soul aloft. Gustave Flaubert
- I consider soul to be an inner
quality of life that gives vitality, energy, and love. Soul
makes us human. When we meet someone like this we think of the
other as having soul, as being soulful. Someone
who is trying to understand him or herself better is engaged in
soul-searching. I think some parents (and children as well)
can become so discouraged, so disenheartened that they lose this
core vitality. They give up, pull back, retreat from life and
- We live in an age when
tragedy does not have heroes, only victims. Roger Ebert
- Consider the shootings last year at Columbine.
Did you read about or hear from any adult in any position related
in some way to that situation accept any kind of regret regarding
their role in the tragedy? All we heard and saw was finger pointing.
The parents, the principle, the teachers, guidance counselors,
law enforcement--where were the heroes? It is much easier to play
the role of victim than to stand up courageously and, if need
be, accept the consequences of our decisions.
- The fishermen know that
the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never
found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.
- Parents have a lot in common with fishermen.
They both set out for the unknown when they begin, knowing full
well that they will face storms and high seas just over the horizon.
Each knows that the challenges they will face will be a true test
of their character. But they know that a noble and worthy goal
is worth the risk.
- Or the waterfall, or
music heard so deeply
That it is not heard at all, but you are the music
While the music lasts. These are only hints and guesses,
Hints followed by guesses and the rest
Is prayer, observance, discipline, thought and action.
The hint half guessed, the gift half understood, is Incarnation.
T. S. Eliot, "Dry Salvages" from Four Quartets
- Who are our children? Can we as parents
go beyond the "hint half-guessed," the "gift half understood"?
We have a lifetime of yearning and searching to discover the real
person we helped bring into the world.
- He gives not best who
gives most; but he gives most who gives best. If I cannot give
bountifully, yet I will give freely, and what I lack in my hand,
I will supply by my heart. Arthur Warwick
- In our materialistic world, we should
never forget that the most important thing we can give children
is our time, a part of our heart.
- Stay, stay at home,
my heart and rest; Homekeeping hearts are happiest. Longfellow
- Let's salute all those parents who manage,
despite the demands of work and other life pressures, to create
space and time children can call home. To those moms and
dads who cannot be home as often as they wish--your children
will learn to appreciate your sacrifice of absence. Appreciation
should also go to those who have made the choice to be a significant
part of their children's lives.
- If you can't fight,
and you can't flee, flow. Robert Eliot
- The ability to "flow" is a talent most
parents need. If you have a difficult to manage child,
then flowing is often much better than fighting. Sometimes we
have to adapt to the child we have and give up the need to change.
Knowing when to do each is an important part of the skill.
- He alone is great who
turns the voice of the wind into a song made sweeter by his own
- On several occasions the real meaning
of these words was brought home to me because of the little kindnesses
of my children. A very snug hug, a gentle kiss, a word of encouragment
can touch us with that sweet song.
- I find my joy of living
in the fierce and ruthless battles of life. August Strindberg
- If you have a "difficult to manage" child
you might want to tape a copy of this quote on your bathroom mirror.
Sure it's tough. But what could be more important in life?
- You cannot always have
happiness, but you can always give happiness. Anon
- Being a parent can be at its most rewarding
when we bring a bright smile to a child's face. What a wonderful
recognition that our lives mean something. Small wonder that so
many elders in nursing homes benefit from visits with children.
How rewarding it must be to make a difference in bringing some
joy, no matter how small, into a child's life.
- The greatest test of
courage on earth is to bear defeat without losing heart. Robert
- I think it takes a lot of courage to
be a parent today. Raising a child is indeed a test of courage.
We all make our share of mistakes. So do our children. Sometimes
the best we can do is to look ahead while we keep our heads up.
- No pessimist ever discovered
the secrets of the stars, or sailed to an uncharted land, or opened
a new heaven to the human spirit. Helen Keller
- And I would add to the list: ...raised
a happy child. Despite whatever setback we may experience
or the discouragement we may feel, we can look to the future optimistically.
We can face the truth with faith.
- You can understand and
relate to most people better if you look at them--no matter how
old or impressive they may be--as if they are children. For most
of us never really grow up or mature all that much--we simply
grow taller. Oh, to be sure, we laugh less and play less and wear
uncomfortable disguises like adults, but beneath the costume is
the child we always are, whose needs are simple, whose daily life
is still best described by fairy tales. Leo Rosten
- In Basic Parenting workshops,
a strong emphasis is given to playful learning. Sometimes the
best way to "teach" is to reach out to the childlike capacity
of parents. It is on this ground that parents can connect with
the experience of their children.
- O summer friendship,
whose flattering leaves shadowed us in our prosperity, With the
least gust, drop off in the autumn of adversity. Philip Massinger
- Autumn, if not winter, arrives in the
life of every parent. We all need someone to hear our stories
during those difficult times. Many parents have no one to talk
to who will listen and provide encouragement. Parents of handicapped
children are especially vulnerable to isolation. Initial good
will and support can evaporate quickly when a parent has to face
a daily struggle.
- Human speech is like
a cracked kettle on which we tap crude rhythms for bears to dance
to, while we long to make music that will melt the stars. Gustave
Flaubert, Madame Bovary
- Trying to find the right words to tell
our children what we think and feel can be a difficult task. A
young child may not understand the words we want to use. An older
child may not want to listen. The best approach for a young child
may be the best approach for any age: get the idea clearly in
one's mind, convert it into simple descriptive words, and then
say them with conviction. It's the simple tune that lingers in
- Reach high, for stars
lie hidden in your soul./ Dream deep, for every dream precedes
the goal. Pamela Vaull Starr
- Creating a positive image of one's own
future begins during the preschool years. "Being realistic" is
not important at this point. What is important is that children
are learning how to hope and envision a positive future for themselves.
It can be difficult for some parents to affirm the child's image
of what that bright future might be.
- There is not enough
darkness in all the world to put out the light of even one small
candle. Charles A. Beard
- The love we have for our children can
sometimes be like that candle. The small flame continues despite
the darkness--the discouragement, the worry, the self-doubt. Sometimes
all a child may need is that light to get through difficult times.
- Neither in environment
nor in heredity can I find the exact instrument that fashioned
me, the anonymous roller that passed upon my life a certain intricate
watermark whose unique design becomes visible when the lamp of
art is made to shine through life's foolcap. Vladimir Nabokov,
- According to a Jewish legend, the evidence
for forgetting the soul's preconceptual mission is pressed right
into our upper lip. That little crevice below our nose is where
the angel pressed its forefinger to seal our lips. As we shape
a new insight or regain a lost thought, our fingers often go up
to that special indent. Are we really nothing more than the cumulative
effects of our environment interacting with our biology? Can everything
special about us be explained away by the biologists and behaviorists?
As a parent, I found myself on numerous occasions wondering about
my children: Where did they get this talent, this love of something,
this yearning to achieve something unique and quite different
from their parents? Read The Soul's Code: In Search of Character
and Calling by respected psychologist James Hillman.
- Our minds can shape
the way a thing will be because we act according to our expectations.
- A feeling of powerlessness is often accompanyed
by an impression that events outside of ourselves are taking charge.
We may feel as though the world is spinning out of control. We
may retreat, believing there is little or nothing we can do to
change a situation. Fellini might suggest, though, that we write
our own life scripts. Children too have a role to play in our
drama. They are vulnerable to losing sight of themselves by working
hard to live up to the expectations of parents they love.
- Be kind, for everyone
you meet is fighting a hard battle. Philo
- Snap judgements are easy to make about
parents who are struggling to raise their children. What we all
need, though, is more understanding and kindness and less criticism.
Each of us at some point in time will make mistakes under stress.
Parents do that too. Standing back up, facing a problem, and making
changes in one's life is difficult at any time. No one is lifted
up by the discouraging stares of a critical audience. Allies,
not enemies--that's what we all need.