Parenting For Good Risk-Taking

August 23, 2009 at 5:29 pm

RCWS tree photo“We do not believe in ourselves until someone reveals that deep inside us something is valuable, worth listening to, worthy of our trust, sacred to our touch. Once we believe in ourselves we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight or any experience that reveals the human spirit.”
-e.e. cummings

As parents we help create an environment for our children that shapes the risk-taking style they carry with them throughout their lives. We all want our children to be strong and caring. We want them to make good decisions in school, at home and with friends. Part of that ability comes  parents being able to see ourselves honestly. By honestly assessing our strengths and weaknesses, parents can more easily see  children for whom they are, rather than as an extension of whom we would like them to be.

Careful listening also nourishes our child’s decision-making abilities. With the myriad distractions of modern life, however, listening must be a conscious act. When we  pay attention to how  our children look when they are talking to us,  their facial expressions, body language and demeanor, we can often hear more  than the words they are saying. Renowned psychoanalyst and author Chaim Ginott (1965) wrote, “The beginning of wisdom is listening”. Listening must be an active process that involves focusing on the one person to the relative exclusion of other people and things. Listening takes practice and patience. But parents who are able to focus on what their children are really saying become better attuned, and more precise sounding boards for their children.

To read more, see Chapter 3, The Parent’s Part, in Raising Children Who SOAR.

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