I was very fortunate to grow up in a loving family environment filled with the richness of wisdom, guidance, truth, fairness, respect and above all L-O-V-E.
One of the three books I bought to help guide me through my Spiritual Sunday posts is entitled "List to Live By for Smart Living" compiled by Alice Gray, Steve Stephens & John Van Diest. I would like to share with you one of these lists...Foundation Builders for Your Family, written by Susan Alexander Yates. I took a "walk down memory lane" of my own childhood and how my parents followed these simple but profound basic principles in order to build our strong family foundation, something I will strive to do with my own own family...
1. Hug and praise them.
My family has always been my biggest cheerleaders. They never missed the opportunity to tell me how proud they were of me (when I did something WORTHY of praise, never "just because"). I think that this was fundamental in helping me build my self confidence, rather than a false sense of "entitlement". Hugs n' Kisses were abound in my home. Hugs of happiness, hugs of encouragement...even hugs of disappointment.
2. See discipline as an asset.
My parents demanded respect and set very clear expectations but they were always fair (even if I didn't think so at the time). If rules were broken, consequences were in place. I believe this is why I am a "rule follower" (mostly) and respect authority.
3. Create traditions.
This is so very important. I can list over a dozen traditions my family had/has. Each with their own special memories and significance. One tradition that still continues to this day is "smatching" Christmas PJ's...simple but so near and dear to my heart. Traditions in families help create security and comfort in knowing what "is to come".
4. Cultivate laughter.
As a family we laugh...more often at one another than not and while some may say that is not a "positive" thing, I couldn't disagree more. I think it has made me more resilient to the "real world" and when life gets "tuff", I'm the first to find humor and/or joy, which makes it all that much easier to deal with.
5. Stay close to teachers.
How you interpret this one may be different than me but I see this as surrounding your family with a variety of different people and "learning" opportunities. My parents always allowed me to "question" (respectfully) the world and people around me and because of this I gained knowledge and embraced diversity.
6. Be where they are.
Both my parents worked full time. They were HARD workers who worked long hours and because of this I was afforded 2 very important things in life. The understanding of a strong work ethic (something so many kids today lack, in my opinion) AND the feeling that when they were with me, they were REALLY engaged and present (something so many parents fail to accomplish, in my opinion).
7. Share your life with them.
Life doesn't "stop" because you have kids. Life is "enhanced" by having them WITH YOU. Allowing me to experience life beside my parents rather than "following behind" them is something I will always be grateful for.
8. Keep a long-range perspective.
Being a parent now, I can see how this one is probably the most important yet most difficult to achieve. I feel so blessed that my parents were always able to keep a long-range perspective, especially during my teenage years and early 20's. I can't imagine how hard they struggled at times with some of my crazy antics. I am not sure how they managed to restrain themselves from locking me in the basement to keep me out of "trouble" but their inner wisdom allowed me to make my own mistakes. As a result, I think that I ave FINALLY become a "Productive Member of Society!" (Thanks mom & dad!)
Did I have the perfect upbringing...no. (But who has?)
Do we always see "eye to eye"...no. (But who does?)
Will I do EVERYTHING the way my parents did...no. (But who will?)
Do I thank them for guiding me and helping me become the person I am today (which, by the way I think is a pretty darn good human being)...YES!
Do I respect everything my parents did and continue to do for me and my family....YES!
And finally, do I know that if the world were to come crashing down around me, they would have my back...You Betcha! (And THAT my friends is all that really matters!)