Raising kids is like baking a cake

Updated: Mar 31 2008, 04:10am hrs
Children need only two things to be loved and given opportunities to acquire life skills, which are learned through living, not competition. Competition causes children to be hypercritical of themselves, which in turn stifles free expression. True education occurs when the childs uniqueness is drawn out the ingredients entering inside to a large extent determine what comes out.

No matter how precisely you measure the ingredients, youll probably never be able to make grandmothers chocolate cake quite the way she did. There are too many variables the freshness of ingredients, the exact temperature of the oven, the heaviness of your hand, and , perhaps, most importantly, your expectations!

You are the producer of your life experiences you set the stage. If you live your life with preconceived ideas, chances are you will be disappointed. And so it is with raising kids. You have it all worked out in your head, perhaps long before the child is even conceived. You imagine that you will produce a strapping young lad who will captain the rugby team, and a pretty little girl who will steal everyones heart and take away the trophy at a ballet school. But what you get is a son who takes after the wifes family small and slightly built, with a passion for the arts, and a roburt daughter who can hit a cricket ball clear off the field at the age of six! In real life, what you want and what you need are not necessarily the same things! So you are disappointed you set yourself up for that disappointment by having expectations! And this disppointment can often cloud your vision, preventing you from seeing the glory within the child that you have been blessed with. Perhaps now is the right time to remind you that your children do not belong to you they are placed in your care, so that you may guide and love and nurture them, and see them reach their full potential. Note, I say, their potential it is their dreams we must assist them in to bring into reality, not the dreams that you have for them. Your children are not extensions of yourself, through which you can realise all the goals that fade away, or re-invent missed opportunities. They are little souls starting out on their own journey.

Todays parents are overwhelmed with the results of studies that show that children need mental and physical stimulation to further normal development. This is partly the result of a generation of children raised on TV and instant meals, and who grow into unstable adults. However, in many cases, parents have over-reacted and can be accused of denying their children their childhood. Even before birth, pregnant mothers play recommended music to their unborned child. Toddlers are exposed to flash cards and structured educational toys. Children of all ages are shunted from one activity to the next. Family life becomes so frenetic that it is difficult to discern whether the competition is greatest between the children or the parents.

In a recent survey in the United States, children were asked to name the three things they most wanted from their parents. An overwhelming majority listed time above all else time to chat, to play basketball with Dad to help Mom in the kitchen, to eat as a family, and time to just chill! In children of all ages, play is the predominantly activity of choice. Not only does it allow creativity, but real learning also takes place in a relaxed environment.

(Extracted from Parenting Delights Whole Parents Complete Children by Rosalind Stone. Published by Wisdom Tree)