Donna O'Donnell Figurski's Blog

It's All About Me!

Musings by Donna #40 To Parent or Not to Parent

Parenting is undoubtedly the hardest, yet the most important job any parent has. Sure, as a parent you are responsible for putting food on the table, providing adequate clothing and shelter for your children, and making sure that their health is optimum, but that is the easier part of parenting. The food does not have to be gourmet. The accommodations – not palatial. Nobody really needs Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana, or the latest jeans from L.L. Bean.

If you travel back to a simpler time, you will see folks hunting for their food and using the skins of those captured animals for clothing. You will see the entire family, in fact, the entire village working together for survival. You will not see cars or smart phones or computers or televisions. You will not see Starbucks or twelve-plex movie theaters. But I think you will get a sense of a slower life – though not necessarily an easier one – when folks were unplugged.

Of course the world marches forward. New inventions, in the form of progress are good, but sometimes they make our world a frenetic place in which to live.

When our children were growing up, we made a conscious decision to unplug. At that time it was mostly the television that was the electronic device of choice. So we not only unplugged our television, we got rid of it. We raised both children in a television-free environment. That left countless hours in which we personally interacted – think after dinner table talk, which lasted hours. Discussions of all sorts about school, recreational activities, or politics were rampant in our house. At ten-years-old, Kiersten gave one of her father’s visiting cousins a run for his political money, when he unwittingly engaged her in a current events debate. She won – hands down. Kiersten’s own daughters are being raised television-free allowing them the freedom of not becoming a slave to the sitcom or reality shows, which are not really representative of “reality” anyway.

My daughter, Kiersten, recently blogged that as a parent, she must set the example for her daughters. If she wants them to read, she must read. If she wants them to appreciate family, then she must spend quality time with them. She says, “As parents, we are setting patterns (for our children) for a lifetime. Do the things you want your children to do!”

She’s right. Over years, those desirable messages will be subliminally implanted in their heads. And someday those children’s children will benefit, too. Then Kiersten added, “I never realized that I was doing all the things my mom had done.” She listed gardening, crocheting, embroidering, sewing, and reading. I love reading. I am a voracious reader – always have been. For me, it’s one of life’s purest joys.

But my interests didn’t stop there. I used to tie-dye, batik, and hook rugs – small ones to be used as wall hangings. I painted, too. Anything creative … I have probably done it. I am a compulsive writer. Writing is one of the things that makes me happiest. What a wonderful outlet! Kiersten is a writer too. She blogs regularly.

Kiersten says that she barely remembers many of these activities that I had incorporated into my daily life. But if she puts her mind to it, she says, she can conjure up some far-distant images. Point made! Think subliminal.

Other subliminal messages I probably conveyed were my passion for what I do – be it raising my children, being a loving and helpful spouse to my husband, David, (42 years) college classes, teaching, writing, designing jewelry. No matter – I give it my all. Kiersten does too! Her passions lie in her life choices … her family, her midwifery career, her dedication to her friends. She is amazing at all of them.

So, yes, our children learn from us, both in how we direct them and by how we model for them.

And many times … we learn from our children. Sometimes we do what they do.

Kiersten blogs …

and so do I!

Parenting is a two way street.

(Clip art compliments of Bing.)

(Photograph compliments of Kiersten.)

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December 5, 2011 - Posted by | Musings by Donna | , , , , , ,

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