No one who has hugged their child can doubt the gift of a childís presence in their life. The love that is expressed in that simple act is one of the most profound ways that we experience love in this world. In order to nurture the special relationship of parent and child, and fulfill our roles as parents, there are number of things that we are signing up to do. Here is a list of eight essential ways to fulfill our parental responsibilities.
These are gifts that we should freely give to our children without thought of what we will receive in return for our efforts.
- The Gift of Life. It is easy to forget that in the act of receiving a child into our lives we are sharing the gift of life itself. Remembering the precious nature of life can help us to keep the ups and downs of daily life in a proper perspective.
- The Gift of Love. The most essential ingredient for a happy life is love. There is no feeling more satisfying to the soul, both in giving and receiving, then love. When we include a conscious awareness of this truth and nurture it as the most basic value of our relationship with our children, we will find that many mistakes Ė on both sides Ė can be weathered.
- The Gift of Time. Time is the proof of our caring. When you spend time with your child you are saying with your actions: I love you and I would rather be with you than doing anything else. This is one of the best ways that you can objectify your love. It is also one of the greatest blessings.
- The Gift of Good Manners. Children from a young age can be taught to behave. This isnít an imposition on their free will. It is a gift that will enhance their lives. The process of developing good manners will help them to begin learning to see how others are affected by their actions. Through the establishment of basic good manners we are giving our children a skill that will benefit them in every other part of life.
- The Gift of Self-Control. Through the establishment of good manners from the very beginning we are planting the seeds of a character trait that can serve as a strong support for success in any endeavor: Self-Control. Practice cultivating self-control in your own self first. Then attune yourself to ways that you can instill these same values in your children.
- The Gift of Positive Mental Culture. By bringing the principles of positive thinking into all areas of life we develop in our children the experience that all good things are possible. Positive mental culture includes ten overarching areas of development: Non-Violence, Non- Lying, Non-Greed, Non-Sensuality, Non-Covetousness, Cleanliness, Contentment, Self-Control, Self-Study, and Devotion to God.
- The Gift of Education. An academic education isnít essential for living successfully in this world. There have been numbers of great people throughout history who couldnít read or write. But next to those great souls who can shine in spite of this lack of formal training, there are millions who could advance their lives immensely if they could but read and write. It isnít enough that we simply send our children to school. This is a gift that opens up a world of information and possibilities for our children. Donít leave this area to chance.
- The Gift of Reverence for All Life. Along with these most basic gifts we need to add a reverence for the sanctity of all life. While we canít make our children believe in God or appreciate the beauty and value of the incredible variety of life forms that inhabit our planet, we can communicate our own belief. Not to share your view on these issues is to - by default - preach that they have no value. The communication and application of the highest aspects of life should always be at the forefront of family life.
Given the mixture of things that we want to share with our children we will need to mix and match according to how the soup is cooking. This is one of the beauties of life Ė its variety and spontaneity. It will, no doubt, turn out different than what we had anticipated in the beginning. If we give our children these eight gifts we will be well on our way to fulfilling our duties as parents and sharing with them the tools that will allow them to experience the best that life has to offer.
© 2003 Lawrence Girard