I really truly believe in the power of parents. I wouldn’t be doing what I do if I didn’t, right? I’ve written two books about it; I teach classes about it; I lecture about it, preach about it, consult about it. Parents who are deliberate in their parenting–who give thought to and discuss the ways they want to raise their kids–are on the track to raising pretty darn great kids.
Yesterday I had one of those belief affirming experiences. I attended the Bat Mitzvah of a now young woman, whom I have known since she was a toddler in the preschool I ran. The mommy (and occasionally the dad–that’s a whole separate story) of this young woman has been a client for all these years, 11 to be exact, attending my seminars, participating in groups, and coming for periodic private consultations. This family’s road hasn’t been exactly smooth. Quite the contrary. There have been bumps and stumbling blocks, some small and one really big. But this mommy epitomizes the “deliberate parent.” Every step of the way she has given thought to her careful handling of this child’s life experience. And she has modeled the very values and characteristics she wants to inculcate in her children. Don’t get me wrong–she is not a helicopter parent. She is simply a solid, thoughtful, present parent. After yesterday I can say with strong conviction, the proof is in the pudding.
All of the education and preparation that goes into a Bat Mitzvah aside, this child has developed into a poised, thoughtful (as in full of thought), kind, charitable , sensitized young woman. (I say sensitized, as opposed to sensitive, as I believe that sensitivity to others is not necessarily innate.) I watched as she greeted all the grown up guests, the family members, giving each time and complete attention, when she would have loved to have been hanging out with her pals. Later I heard stories about why she choose the kind of Bat Mitzvah she did (outside in a natural setting), what had been important to her (not gifts). It was so consistent. This young woman took my breath away
And as I looked around at the gathering of her guests, I realized that most of her friends there were just like her: really super kids. They didn’t goof around, whispering and giggling with one another during the service. They were attentive and respectful. I knew many of the parents, and I know the job they have done with their children. (Some are clients; many are not.) But I know them because many were parents in that same preschool I directed. They haven’t taken their job as parents lightly, nor have they expected their kids’schools to do their jobs as parents.. It is parents who make great kids. They have and they are.
I love it when clients prove my point. It makes it all worthwhile.