Friday, September 23, 2016

The Best Parenting Article You'll Ever Read

This is going to be the best parenting article you'll ever read.  Well, maybe.

The reality is that parenting is both simple and complicated at the same time.  Most everyone knows the simple and straightforward commands of parenting: love your kid, provide for them, be gentle but firm, consistent and fair, etc. etc.  Everyone from Strabo the Stoic Graeco-Roman philosopher, to St. Paul the great Christian missionary and scholar, to Dr. Phil the psychologist and media attention addict, give the same basic advice to parents.  To be sure there are big differences among the many schools of thought on parenting, but there is a significant amount of common ground as well.

The complicated part is applying this knowledge to a specific family, a specific child, at a specific age and time, in a specific situation... and doing so again and again as both the parents and the child(ren) change and grow and move on in time.  This takes wisdom.  One mentor of mine said that wisdom is "knowing the right thing to do, at the right time, in the right way."  If that's the case, then wise parenting is contextual and therefore... complex.

There are many great resources out there to learn wisdom from.  Certainly life-on-life learning is the best way to learn wisdom.  Whether it is a career, a sport, a religion, a new relational role, the best way to learn is in real-time with someone who has experience and success.  One way to access some of this experience is through the books that wise people write.  Books are no substitute for life-on-life learning (so get off the internet and get a mentor or two), but they can be helpful.

I recently came across one of the most helpful articles on parenting I've ever read (So, we're back to the title of this blog post now).  It was written in the 1860's.  Uncovering parenting tips from the past allows me to have a fresh perspective on my own historical biases.  It is like a cross-cultural experience.

So, if you're ready for a cross-cultural experience, check this out:

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