Editor’s note: The following opinion piece was submitted by Logan County resident Glenn Honeycutt.
A young couple filled in at their grandparent’s card club with a last minute cancellation. As the evening progressed, it didn’t take long for bragging rights competition to begin for those having the brightest and smartest grandchild. The boasting flowed freely even though the same stories had been told numerous times.. Since the young couple had small children of their own, they listened intently and asked pertinent questions when grandmothers paused to catch their breath. It’s a well known fact, grandparents are always eager to share their wisdom.
The young couple heard several worthy bits of advice; “Develop specific guidelines and expectations; be flexible and patient; don’t be surprised at anything; take one day at a time; learn from one experience to the next; and, seek help when things appear to be getting out of hand.” All this was good advice. One grandfather further suggested, “When you think you are in over your head, you probably are.”
Worldly grandparents know a coach is only as good as his last winning season and parents only as good as their child’s last temper tantrums. Grandmothers, as teachers, know about perfect children because every parent has one. They would suggest not gloating because each child is capable of doings things causing the heart to skip a beat and gossip to be cast about the internet and face-book pages. It’s unfortunate, but these same people can’t wait to tell about Humpty Dumpty taking a fall. It’s sad when they put other kids down to feel better about their own. Shallowness is hard to hide.
Kids are bound to make mistakes so it doesn’t do much good to fret about the situation. When they do make errors in judgment, just give them their due attention, space to learn from misguided choices; and, move on. Most children know when they do something wrong. Mistakes don’t make them or their parent’s bad. “Crap happens,” like Forrest Gump said. Be understanding, gracious, diplomatic and learn from experiences. ”Focusing on the negative doesn’t do any good,” suggested one grandparent.
It’s hard for some parents to admit they don’t have the answer to address every problem children have as in, “I don’t know.” It’s okay not to have the answer for everything. Just admit it and do your best to find a remedy. Solutions can be found talking and working things out with children. Never bluff because your credibility is at stake. Always tell the truth and you won’t have to worry about being found out like politicians who have stated, “I don’t remember or recall having said that.” Yeah, right! Once respect is lost, the truth becomes irrelevant. Always demonstrate the behavior you want children to model.
As children get older, they become independent; want to make their own decisions and handle their own problems. This comes about only if they’ve had good coaching. You know, like the coach you learned from during his last winning season. It becomes frustrating when children continually run to parents for approval. Chances are, they were never given the latitude to fail so their behavior becomes predictable. Parents get the credit here. Teaching responsibility and living with choices takes patience and comes with time. Success promotes confidence to make bigger and better decisions later in life. In spite of having periodic temper tantrums when they were small, most kids turn out just fine.
Glenn Honeycutt is a Logan County resident.