I want to share a little “handy” advice (via hand gestures) that I usually give to new parents and my friends with new-parent children.
Give your kids your presence, not just presents.
Your presence includes your love, your guidance, your wisdom and help in pointing their journey towards the Moral North.
I’m aware that the young parents of today are focussed on bringing home the bacon, career ascension, providing the best for the family etc. But just beware of not neglecting the important intangible things of Life in your kids. They really don’t care if you have the latest sought-after Rolex on your wrist.
The more attention you put into the mind of your growing kid, the less maintenance you need to dispense when they are adults. The less you’ll have to bail them out. Plus the compounding effect that the good you put into them will be passed down to their kids. And sow on (see what I there).
Always take advantage of any excuse to go for fun family vacations to build bonds, trusts and recharge everyone’s batteries (above image). Work hard, play hard.
Above is the Intro segment of my book, “ACCESS: Into The Wilderness Of Rock & Roll”. Dedicated to my Son, I remind him (in print) that I was not an absentee father, unlike the protagonist in Harry Chaplin’s song “Cat’s In The Cradle”. My son has also assured me he’ll not be an absentee son down the Road.
What goes around, comes around.
To me, the first 16 years of feeding/nurturing a kid’s Life (mind) is crucial. Nourishing the kid is essential but nurturing the thoughts in his/her brain is crucial. Always impart to your kids YOUR thoughts, philosophies and teachings. Not the grandparent’s or domestic helper’s or iPad’s.
Together with my advice of imparting good wholesome and intelligent knowledge on to your kids’ minds, I always illustrate my advice with my hand gestures. Hope you’ll find it useful.
On the topic of hands, never lift your hand to hit a kid. To the smart parent, I say, the threat of punishment is more powerful than the punishment itself.
Remember this – Hurt people hurt people.
Toddler – When the kid is very young, give smiles, happy voice, good thoughts, and love (above image). Language is not important at this point. A soothing tone of voice and joyful facial gestures is love nourishment enough.
Young Kid – provide a nice and loving home environment (above image). I like Hard Rock Cafe’s motto – love all, serve all. Where Mommy and Daddy do not quarrel, elder siblings are good role-models etc.
Kid – start imparting the fundamentals of good healthy living (above image). Nothing too profound. Be around more for them so you can interact with them. Let them know you see them.
When I see (hear) noisy, angsty, attention-seeking kids in church, shops and/or restaurants, I know they’re not getting any presence (attention) from their nonchalant parents. They’re probably much noisier at home.
Pre-Teen – Keep feeding them with good and intelligent thoughts, the hands (brain) are slowly closing to parental advice (above image).
Teenager and beyond – the kids’ hands (minds) are by now closed to the parents (above image). By now, as wide-eyed and curious teenagers, he/she would have their own friends (tribes), who’ll be influencing one another with the deals of the day – music, fashion, sex, food, restaurants, social media, hobbies, online shopping, and vices (oops) etc.
The Good News is this – once you’re in their hearts and minds, you have their love and, more importantly, respect. You are still able to have quality chats with them and they’ll take your advice to their hearts.
Besides Hands, another analogy that I use for kid’s upbringing is a Scaffolding. When they’re toddlers, take the time to build scaffoldings, to ensure they grow up straight towards the sun (Moral North). Then as they grow up, sprouting deeper roots, lessen the scaffolding. By their teens, it’s okay to remove the scaffolding as their roots have reached deep into the ground and can withstand strong winds. Best to keep a watchful eye too, just in case of the occasional nuisance scam.
Yes, by now, my kids’ hands are long closed but the good news is I’m firmly in my kids’ minds and hearts. Nowadays when my grown–up kids walk by and I want to have a word with them, within seconds they sit next to me, lovingly. We still give each other firm hugs daily.
As I told my kids, the earlier and more good advice (attention) I impart to them, the less maintenance (delicious fruits of labor) I get to enjoy in the long run.
Happy Kidding Around!