Random Thoughts from a Restless Mind

Dr. Darrell White's Personal Blog

Cape Cod

Fill It With Love

It’s really weird to spend an extended amount of time in the same house with multiple families while they are each actively pursuing the act of parenting. Have you ever done this? Done it when there was no escaping?

Beth and I are the oldest, first married, and first to create grandchildren. We are therefore also, now and evermore, the stupidest. No one is able to appreciate the difficulty and complexity of addressing any child developmental stage until they are knee deep in living it, although it’s amazing how much advice one receives from those not yet at any particular stage! Despite our shortcomings and obvious intellectual insufficiencies we have soldiered on nonetheless with good humor and grace…at least in the case of Beth.

After a week of (silent) observation of various parenting techniques and styles (silent because no one ever wants to hear “I told you so”, do they) I think I’ve come up with a general rule, or guideline, to the parenting thing. It seems that successful parents, those who manage to create useful, productive, mostly happy progeny who do not hate their parents, do so by setting clear and uniformly observed limits. Boundries within which the children live and learn. A sort of “silo” with virtual walls that exist both indoors and out. An open-ended silo is never successful because there is ultimately no clear limit established. A very skinny silo, bound up in rules and regs, with very little room for growth can be just as unsuccessful, and can be pretty tough to watch at that.

But it IS possible for even the tightest, skinniest silo to be successful in creating happy, successful, well-adjusted children. Why is that, if it’s so painful to watch a family silo that is so tight, so rigid, with so little room for growth? Ah, it’s because it’s not only the presence of parentally laid limits, the creation of the silo that is the ultimate source of parental success, it’s what ELSE you put in that silo that counts.

You gotta add love. It doesn’t matter whether your silo is looks like Old McDonald’s or a McDonald’s straw. Lots and lots of love. Fill every space in that silo that’s not already filled up with a kid with love.

There’s never enough of that in any family, ya know?


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