Looking Back, Moving our grandchildren’s Lives Forward: “If I had My Child to Raise Over Again” and “Children Live What They Learn”

poster,375x360,ffffffWhen, as a Grandma, I look back on my parenting years, I remember that raising and nurturing children was PART of my life.  I also had a marriage to nurture.  I also had a career to nurture.  I also had friendships and relationships to nurture.    I could go on.  Sometimes, I felt I was on a treadmill, and about to fall off at any moment.  Sometimes, I felt I was doing so much at once, I was doing nothing well.   I did not have the benefit of the guidance and wisdom of grandparents.  My parents did not have the benefit of the guidance and wisdom of their parents, who were not alive when they parented me.  I know as a grandma, that my past parenting experiences, whether good, bad, or indifferent, have resulted in the greatest reward of all,  present and future grand parenting.  How many of us have heard the saying, “If I knew being a grandparent was so much fun, I would have done it first.”  If only we could.

So, what does Grandma say is part of our grand parenting duties?  Moving our grand children’s lives forward by reminding the parents to stop, enjoy, rejoice in the beauty of our grandchildren.  Reminding the parents of our grandchildren to have fun, to move life and work aside and play more.  I always point out the small things, and remind the parents that life moves too fast.  The baby they are holding in their arms will be leaving for college tomorrow.

I have two favorite poems about children and raising children.  The first is:

If I Had My Child to Raise Over Again

If I had my child to raise all over again,
I’d build self esteem first, and the house later.
I’d fingerpaint more, and point the finger less.
I would do less correcting and more connecting.
I’d take my eyes off my watch, and watch with my eyes.
I would care to know less and know to care more.
I’d take more hikes and fly more kites.
I’d stop playing serious, and seriously play.
I would run through more fields and gaze at more stars.
I’d do more hugging and less tugging.
I’d see the oak tree in the acorn more often.
I would be firm less often, and affirm much more.
I’d model less about the love of power,
And more about the power of love.

This poem is by Diane Loomans.  As a bestselling author, Diana Loomans has more than one million books and short stories in print including, What All Children Want Their Parents to Know; 12 Keys to Raising a Happy ChildThe Laughing Classroom;Everyone’s Guide to Teaching With Humor & Play100 Ways to Teach Values and Build Esteem in All Ages, and her children’s titles, Positively Mother GooseThe Lovables in the Kingdom of Self Esteem,Today I Am Lovable365 Positive Activities for Kids, and The Lovables Board Book for Babies. You can find out more about Diane Loomans at http://www.dianaloomans.com/bio.htm

Articles and editorials about the poem, “If I had My Child to Raise Over Again,” are always interviewing parents AFTER THE CHILDREN ARE GROWN to talk about what they would do differently if they had their children to raise all over again.  I do not want my children to look back to what they would do differently if they had their children to raise over again, I want to offer this poem and its perspective and insight IN ADVANCE so they move my grandchildren’s life forward in the most positive way the parents can.

Begin the dialogue with your children for the benefit of your grandchildren.  If you do not have the sort of relationship that enables you to bring the poem into the parents’ lives in an open way, consider forwarding a YouTube video.  A great gift is the poem framed in a beautiful frame of your choice as a new baby gift, shower gift, mother’s day gift or for no reason at all but to begin to discuss parenting in a different way with the parents of the precious grandchildren.  Create your own poster, find a calligrapher to write the poem out for you or see the option at Red Bubble.

The second poem is by Dorothy Law Nolte.

Children Learn What They Live

If a child lives with criticism,
He learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility,
He learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule,
He learns to be shy.
If a child lives with shame,
He learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance,
He learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement,
He learns confidence.
If a child lives with praise,
He learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness,
He learns justice.
If a child lives with security,
He learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval,
He learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship,
He learns to find love in the world.

Isn’t love in the world what we want for our grandchildren? Mrs. Nolte, the author, herself changed the poem in later years to make it gender-neutral. The original is above.  A poster of the poem to share with the parents of your grandchildren can be purchased at Fine Art America.

The poem has turned into a book about instilling values through example. The book has more than 3 million copies in print worldwide and has been translated into 18 languages, according to its publisher, Workman Publishing. Dorothy Law Nolte, a lifelong teacher and lecturer on family dynamics, presents a simple but powerful guide to parenting the old-fashioned way. The book can be purchased for $9.95 at Amazon.  Written with psychotherapist Rachel Harris, each of the 19 couplets of the poem is developed into a chapter on jealousy, shame, praise, recognition, honesty, fairness, tolerance, and more. It is a book intended to help parents find their own parenting wisdom, and to raise children with a surer, steadier, more understanding hand.

Wow!  Turning grandparenting wisdom into parenting wisdom!  Looking back, moving our grand children’s lives forward with

Joy,

Mema

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