Last Monday my StoryWorth question asked me what advice I would give my children now for raising theirs. I responded that most verbal advice goes in one ear and out the other when children are young. What children remember more are our actions and reactions.
Apparently visual dominates auditory when it comes to raising children and retention. They watch our every move-remembering how we responded to daily frustrations …up to life/death tragedies. They are taking it all in and putting it in their memory boxes.
But the one most important verbal advice I would give my grown children about handling life’s up’s and down’s would be ” Pick your battles.”
Children get so much verbal advice from all adults in their lives that soon they just shut it out like Charlie Brown.
I remember one particular on-going battle with Walsh when he got to middle school. He decided to start a new trend wearing his long shorts to school every single day… fall, winter, and spring. Of course his peers wanted to copy him but by winter some parents started balking.
Walsh attended the middle school where I taught and I did get a few comments snd looks from other teachers when the weather turned extra cold. My response was always the same… ” I pick my battles and this one I gave to Walsh. ”
As a middle school teacher I knew how important it was to be accepted during these crazy hormone elevator middle years.
I reasoned he wasn’t putting himself or others at serious risk ( ironically Walsh was my one child who rarely ever got sick or even had a cold) – he wore a jacket with his long shorts and we all survived middle school together.
And I will have to say he has carried this independent tolerance over to his own children and their expressions of individuality.
So until tomorrow…Keep a sense of humor when choosing battles-just think of ” No man’s Land” as No Mom’s Land! We need to reserve our energy for the war instead.
” Today is my favorite day” Winnie the Pooh
Yesterday was my favorite day… it was my oldest grandson, Rutledge’s 8th birthday! He spent it with the boys ( dad, brother, granddad) -camping out…climbing mountains! Way to go Rutledge!
Let’s hear it for the birds-leaving a petunia seed to grow with other pretties
Happy 8th Birthday Rutledge. And I love your entry. When Paul walked behind Lou Holtz for a year at USC and was very visible people would tell me that he was wearing shorts in extremely cold weather…they saw him om TV and from the stands…I asked him and he said Mom those are my lucky USC shorts!
I agree…I figured raising a free-thinking middle child like Walsh was a struggle in itself…occasional bouts of self-expression didn’t bother me a bit…except trying to find shorts for Christmas. 🙂
My aunt gave the same advice, but with a few different words. She would say, “Say yes as many times as possible because there will be many times you have to say no.” I would say , “picking your battles “ is extremely important. Being a young parent today with social media and the many more things young people face must be a big challenge and even more reason this is great advice.
I agree Jo…parenting gets harder and harder with so much other information free-flowing in children’s lives…setting down basic moral attributes and behavior is a must …and then role-modeling it…while picking out the most dangerous battles that must be fought to protect your loved one.
P.S. I love your aunt’s advice…will remember it.