Eugi’s Weekly Prompt-Hazy- January 25, 2022- Note to Parents

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When they’re feeling hazy and striving to be polite,
Parents lose their clarity between what’s ‘day’ and ‘night’.

Kids don’t know the difference.
They need a solid view.
Don’t forget your purpose,
You must tell them what to do.

You’re not being mean or bossy,
It’s kinder. Be a guide.
To give kids blind consenting rights,
Is no way to take their side.

You wouldn’t let them wander
Alone on streets at night.
They have no moral compass yet,
So, teach them ‘wrong’ from ‘right’.

Your job as an adviser,
Is to translate where to go.
Dismiss the whack pop culture,
And tell them what YOU know.

They’ll thank you in the future.
They’ll feel more ‘safe and sound’.
You’ll arm them with a purpose
With their feet upon the ground.

Probity’s the treasure that
Thieves are ripe to rob.
Guard all children’s innocence,
And kindly do your job.

FPQ- March 31, 2021

FPQ

Is there really such a thing as a necessary evil, or is it just a way for us to rationalize or justify doing something bad?

This is a provocative question extraordinaire.
I believe it can be alternately phrased do the “ends justify the means”?
I’ve struggled with this for years. I just can’t answer it simply.
My knee jerk answer is “Yes, it’s an excuse.” for many people but, more importantly, most governments use that excuse for horrid behavior.
But secondly, framing the question in a more benign form, “Do we need to do unpleasant things for the ‘greater good’?”, my answer is also ‘yes’.
If you think parents might be happier to just ‘give in’ to their kids and never restrict their movement or activities, you’re right. In fact, lazy and indifferent parents often do.
But, those who deem it their duty to train their kids to be responsible adults choose the hard road. Parenting isn’t a popularity contest, it’s a gauntlet.
Making your kids realize that they, and they alone, are responsible for their own actions ( and reactions) is a trial. At some point, all kids will be confronted with troubles (That’s life) but smoothing out their young lives isn’t a wise choice. Protecting them from troubles or ugliness, isn’t a good rule either, unless to protect their innocence at tender ages.
What you get if you overprotect kids are kids unprepared for life. Like the ones hiding in ‘safe spaces’ at universities these days.
No one has a pass… no one deserves not to be challenged… no one gets stronger without meeting resistance and parents have the difficult responsibility to watch their beloved children fail.
A distraught 6 year old who forgets her library book, because her parent didn’t remind her on library day, is hard to watch. Parents’ hearts hurt watching that. But better a few of those failures than having a young adult who believes rules and deadlines are arbitrary or someone else’s fault when they’re not met. That arrogance won’t serve them or society well.
So, I’ll say “unpleasantness, disappointment, and being offended” are necessary ‘evils’ that parents need to offer their kids in the form of backing off with parental protection. How they learn to deal with those things will make ALL the difference in their later success and, most importantly, their happiness and self-confidence.


Fandango’s Provocative Question #115 – This, That, and The Other (fivedotoh.com)

SoCS- Butter

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God really blew it when it came to making small children irresistibly physically appealing and making teenagers awkward and moody.
This prompt word ‘butter’ made me instantly recall cute little four-year-olds wielding their charms and puppy dog appearances in manipulative efforts meant to ‘butter up’ adults.
It works!
Kids become masters of the ‘smooze’ often before they can talk.
But teenagers are unlovable in appearance and temperament. What the heck?
They need more of everything (love, understanding, guidance, and adult presence) and somehow were created to sabotage all those things.
Some say it’s the process of getting parents to prepare to let them go. Hogwash!
Teenagers need parents to hold them more tightly during their ‘trials’ of puberty.
Don’t confuse my opinion on the need for more parenting with being intrusive and overprotective. I mean more alert and engaged. We have to be smarter, and more devious, than those incomplete awkward ‘adultlings’. It calls for more sleepless nights, more monitoring, and more understanding than the ‘terrible twos’ required.
That realization is usually a big surprise!
I blame it all on the too frequent comparison of kids to puppies which is a somewhat cruel ‘bait and switch’.
Puppies ruin stuff, need training, and keep you busy but become easier to live with from there on.
Not so with children!
Happy Saturday and special blessings for you who have teenagers!


The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS March 6, 2021 | (lindaghill.com)

SoCS 3/7/20 Figures

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Many times a day I make decisions. When my family day care was in full swing, the number of decisions were astronomical! Especially when it came to being the judge and jury of all things “fair”.
Nowadays, kids are told to seek arbitration for every disagreement. This is a time consuming endeavor as well as a “cop out” on learning how to deal with others.
We all know kids who find excessive infractions to complain about. Everyone knows complaints, and complainers, get lots of attention.
So what’s the guide for a happy medium with children?
Well first, consider the complaint. Eliminating all things that could cause physical harm is priority #1. This can be evaluated in a flash usually by the tone and urgency of the complainant. (The theatrical types aren’t usually academy award level so even they can be decoded at a glance.)
Secondly, the complainer’s reputation is a litmus test. Sorry, but The Boy Who Cried Wolf  is a parable with a real life impact. I wouldn’t disregard that kid because even broken clocks are right twice a day, but my questions would lack enthusiasm. Yes, I’ll likely roll my eyes. Kids need to learn to read clues if they are going to navigate this world. (Spare me a comment about kids with Autism. I know the difference.)
Thirdly, there may be an immediate judgement from my “court” if something aggregious has happened. The destruction of a reading book or a shoving match, would require my intervention. But, equally as often, my advice to the complainant is to figure it out for himself.
I always instructed the kids that removing themselves from the unhappy situation is a wonderful idea and compromise is also an excellent tool. Then, I get out of the way.

When I was a kid, I heard, “Don’t make a Federal Case out of it.” more times than I can count. We learned how to get along quite well. I believe that phrase could cure a large amount of the current division in our country even when taken literally.
Problem is, few want to figure things out for themselves as many haven’t any idea how to do it. Self control and individual responsibility have been elective courses over the last 40 or 50 years in parental guidelines. IMO…This figures directly into the current lack of civility.
The “want” of attention, validation, victory, and self pity is mighty high out there and everyone seems eager to listen.
[eyeroll]
I can’t figure this will change soon.

This figurative post was brought to you by Stream of Consciousness Saturday! Click the following link to find all the other posts in the comment section and join in! It’s fun! https://lindaghill.com/2020/03/06/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-march-7-2020/

Building Self-esteem

133If you’ve ever watched a baby struggling to take her first steps, you’ve watched an exercise in self-esteem building. The struggle leading to sweet success is written on her face.

Parents waving and clapping make the event super fun yet the glow of satisfaction, the child exhibits, comes quite instinctively. It’s from the sense of accomplishment that baby feels.

Our modern society understands that self-esteem is very valuable to a healthy whole person, but sometimes, the zeal of parents, endeavoring to promote this, actually has a counter-productive effect.

The biggest misconception, about self-esteem, is that it stems from happiness. The happiness on baby’s face (above) is the end result of her struggles, bumps, and mistakes. It is not the cause of her satisfaction.

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I don’t know one mother who has not felt mortified by the realization that it’s “library day”, at school, and her child’s book has been left behind on the kitchen table. Take heart mom…your child will survive the trauma. She will learn, also, that responsibility for her own happiness comes from herself.  I speak from experience and my own mistakes. In hind-sight, I thought “good” moms smoothed the path leading to their children’s success. This was not a wise philosophy for building independence and responsible behavior.

It is clear to me, now, that self-esteem lives alongside of feeling capable. We learn much more from our mistakes and, by resolving, not to repeat them. This advice is directed toward new moms. Bite your tongue, and let your child fail while they are young and their problems (very big to them at the time) are not so big. Be there to help them design a better approach but avoid being the answer.

Katherine age 5
Katherine age 5

Hey, every parent makes mistakes. This is why they get a second chance with grandchildren. 😉

The Positive Power of Peer Pressure

tex playing video games
tex playing video games (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Competition for kids is not only good for them, it is essential to their well-being.
The approach of parents and schools to reduce competition is, in my opinion, misguided. It seems to me that as in many things, nowadays, the real value is overlooked in favor of “kindness”.

Johnny wins the spelling bee. Sally tried very hard, studied very hard and wanted the shiny medal very much. She cries for a moment when she loses. Johnny, on the other hand, jumps up and down and shakes the medal at Sally.

First, crying and being disappointed isn’t fatal. But let the scene play out.

Johnny’s applause fades quickly (due to his flaunt) and classmates move in to console Sally and give her an “atta girl” rally. If she cries for too long, though, she’ll learn sympathy has a limit.

To interrupt what seemed to be a cruel scene in the beginning, would have stripped every kid of lessons in sportsmanship and human decency.

Johnny feels embarrassed for flaunting and sorry for Sally, whom he never intended to hurt. All the kids, notice that. Sally got the reward of friendship and support. All the kids, notice that too. Both kids survive the event with a clear message that losing is not the worst but poor sportsmanship is ugly. 

Society has weakened the effectiveness of peer pressure by regarding it as, primarily, negative. I’m asking you to consider what we lose when we deem competition and peer pressure unhealthy? Just as a body kept safe from germs fails to build antibodies, children kept safe from competition fail to build character. Peer pressure is the key tool in directing a positive result.

Both Johnny and Sally survive their embarrassment and disappointment, respectively. (Surviving adversity is one fine lesson, as well.) Each will react differently the next time they are exposed to competition. I’d advise, keep it coming until it becomes as much a part of them as saying, “Please and Thank-you.”

Dog trainers all agree that, in order to have a well-rounded happy pet, owners must socialize them while young. Their brilliant premise is built upon other dogs correcting un-dog-like behavior while dogs are formative.

No, I don’t think kids are animals but as human beings (who are basically very good and much more complex) they have an awful lot to learn from peer pressure.

Now, consider kids who have been protected from “real life” lessons (tears, anger, sympathy and hurt) and plop them in front of video games. No peer pressure in video games. There is one objective…WIN. Nameless, cold opponents don’t cry. Flaunting is encouraged AND if you don’t win, you can quit by pulling a plug!

Funny thing is, another misguided solution would be to take the video games away too. Apparently, some people aren’t getting the BIG picture.

Monkey Finds His Way

Monkey in Bali, Indonesia
Monkey in Bali, Indonesia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A little monkey got up one morning and decided to only look down from the trees.
It was wonderful!
He noticed that other monkeys lived in his neighborhood, he found a banana that had been overlooked, and he discovered his own shadow. Suddenly, he almost fell. His mother caught him and smiled gently.
The next day, the little monkey decided to only look upward.
It was wonderful!
He saw the clouds and the bluest sky. A flock of birds passed over and his heart felt as though it would burst from the beauty of it all. Suddenly, he almost fell. His mother caught him and smiled gently.
On the very next day, a bit more cautious little monkey, decided to look only behind himself.
It was wonderful!
All the while he walked, he could still see his soft leafy nest. Now, he was sure this was his best decision, yet. It made him feel warm and safe. Suddenly, he almost fell. His mother caught him, once again, and smiled gently.

This time, his mother warned him that he must look around to best prevent himself from falling. Little monkey had fun looking around until he noticed ugly, fearful things were in the forest.
This was not so wonderful!
“Mother? I was happier when I looked down and looked back and looked upward. How can you look around and still smile?”
“I have an eye for beauty, a mind that knows discovery and warm memories of safe places, all those things make me smile.”

“I just don’t understand why I must look around when I don’t want to see ugly, fearful things?”

“Because, my dear little monkey, I will not always be near enough to catch you.”

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I have no doubt that this story has already been told, in some form or fashion. I am alarmed by what I consider over-protectiveness on the part of  many young parents who want only happy, dreamy feelings filling everything in their children’s environment. Because of that opinion, I wrote this story today, and my words came to me separately from any other sources. 😉