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Letter From the Publisher, Maureen Hart Cary
So many factors come into play when raising children; so many inputs to sort through with such impact. Since I was rather young when I had my daughter, I learned early on that if you don’t know something, research it and learn about it.
My daughter was perfectly content in her playpen, even learned to walk by holding on to the sides and eventually making it to the middle. She was safe, and I did not have to spend my day saying “no” to her to keep her safe. Then I read something in a parenting book that said playpens inhibit the child’s natural sense of curiosity, so I took her out. Now I was forced to chase her around and deny her things she wanted that just weren’t safe or practical. I think that was the last time I parented based on something I read without fully understanding what the consequences were.
As most parents do, I did continue to learn, and read and absorb parenting information, but at the end of the day, I learned to rely more on the values I was raised with. In a recent conversation with my daughter about work ethic and personal responsibility, she reminded me of a conversation we had when she was about 17. She had her driver’s license and was responsible for getting herself to school. One morning there had been a snowstorm, but school had not been cancelled. She was grumbling about how it should have been instead of getting ready to leave. I was up, planning on leaving a little early for work since the driving would be slower. As I prodded her to do the same, she recalls that I responded to her complaint that school was not cancelled with, “Too bad, you still have to go anyway and better get moving since it will take longer.”
We laugh about it now. Despite the grumbling, it never entered her mind to just play hooky, just as I never considered skipping work. Neither one of us may have been happy about it, yet we knew what we needed to do, and that was that. Our value system compelled us to do the right thing. How do we communicate our values to our children? Will they be receptive, or will some rebel? The nature verses nurture question is endless.
As we look to offer guidance to our children, summer offers many opportunities to get outside and create memories. It doesn’t take money or require the use of electronics to go for a walk someplace scenic of which Rhode Island has abundance. You just may find that these simpler summer activities set the stage for some of your best teachable moments as a parent.
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