Thursday, September 06, 2007

My Family Values

My Job: To make sure my children know that I love them.
Not My Job: To pour into them every ounce of my being.

My Job: To protect my children from foreseeable harm.
Not My Job: To insulate them from every inconvenience and minor hardship.

My Job: To foster my children’s intelligence.
Not My Job: To maximize their future earnings.

My Job: To equip my children to be flexible, resilient, caring adults.
Not My Job: To make my children happy, now or in the future.

My Job: To bolster my children’s confidence.
Not My Job: To make my children “winners.”

My Job: To recognize and embrace my children’s personalities.
Not My Job: To replicate myself.

My Job: To share with my children the things I love: beaches, autumn leaves, chocolate-chip cookies, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Wizard of Oz.
Not My Job: To take them to Disney World, give them cars for their 16th birthday, or provide them with their own computers, TVs, and cell phones.

My Job: To set aside what money I can towards the cost of a university education.
Not My Job: To ensure that my children never have to work a part-time job.

My Job: To be vitally interested in my children’s lives.
Not My Job: To do their science fair projects, micro-manage their friendships, or tag along when they go clubbing with their underage friends.

My Job: To ensure that my children get what they need to develop their potential: nutritious meals, an educational environment in which they can learn, time to play with their friends, the knowledge that God loves them.
Not My Job: To decide what they will do with that potential.

My Job: To direct my votes, my volunteer hours, and my charitable giving towards fostering the potential of all children in my community.
Not My Job: To ensure that my children receive no benefits except those that are available to all.

My Job: To model respect and reasonableness and expect the same in return.
Not My Job: To build the family's routine around the children's soccer, piano, swimming and golf lessons.

My Job: To temper my children’s natural greed by encouraging them to share, to forgive, and to turn the other cheek.
Not My Job: To ensure that they never let anyone push them around.

My Job: To give my children fun, companionship, and safety.
Not My Job: To ensure that they get the best of everything.

(Another Hump Day Hmmm… a day late and a dollar short as usual.)

The Original Perfect Post Awards – Sept ‘07

79 comments:

Rae said...

Wow, I love this. What a manifesto.

b*babbler said...

Isn't this is the truth, and something we could all be reminded of occasionally.

I think I'll have to print this one out for the fridge.

Marc said...

This post for some reason gave me the giggles

WONDERWOMAN said...

OOps, I was accidently logged in as Marc (my other personality) just kidding, I was actually the one that got the giggles

Crystal said...

You are going to raise good people.

Beck said...

Good post. VERY good post.
And also: not only is it NOT my job to buy the little twerps their own computers, cars and televisions, but I would go so far as to say that doing so is BAD parenting. There is one tv and one tv ONLY at Casa Beck.

flutter said...

Can I come back and refer to this when I have kids? This is perfect, really.

bubandpie said...

Beck - There's a problem with faulty parallelism in this post, actually. Many of the "Not My Job" things are bad parenting, but some of them (like going to Disney World) are merely optional, or not as important to me as they apparently are to some people. I also considered adding this one:

My Job: To encourage an appropriate sense of caution.
Not My Job: To promote fearlessness.

But that one's far more about personality and taste, I think, than values, so I left it off.

nomotherearth said...

I could not agree more. Words to live by. I believe I may print this out, if you don't mind.

Aliki2006 said...

Perfectly done.

Kyla said...

I like this. A lot.

Swistle said...

I love this so much. Ooo, I can add one:

My job: To support my child's education, and to help his/her teachers when it is within my power to do so.

Not my job: To purchase $12 rolls of wrapping paper so the PTA can fund their next fundraiser.

Florinda said...

I agree with Rae - this is a manifesto, and it's a great one. My own pet theory is that the job of parenting is to raise functional adults, thereby eventually working yourself out of a job. I think your "family values" statement is a fine guide to doing that, and I hope you won't mind if I link to it.

andi said...

Perfectly said. I love that in a time when most people are continuing to over-indulge and micro-manage their kids, there are still a few people who think that lifestyle is ridiculous.

I'm going to print this one out - I think it is one of my favorite posts of yours so far.

Jenifer said...

Well, I did want to go to Disney World if that counts...it was mostly me who made the arrangements if you know what I mean.

These are words to live by in many ways. I agree that is not my job to give up myself in order for my children to thrive. My Mom didn't and I am thankful for it. My Mom often comments that her world did not revolve around me, I was a part of it of course, but not the sole reason of her existence.

I think the buying your kids stuff equals bad parenting is a bit of a slippery slope.

My sister-in-law (a single parent) has bought two of her three children laptops and cell phones for use in high school/university and I am hesitant to call it bad parenting. Both of the children have part-time jobs and contribute to their expenses. One goes to a school that actually requires a laptop for some of the courses. I am not sure I would label it bad parenting is all. She is trying to give them every advantage to succeed and while a laptop is not required by any means it is her way of inventing in their future.

And to add to Swistle's comment.

All of the fund-raising dollars our school raises - every last dollar - is put back into the school. As the Parent Council we were able to buy new microphones for the gym, buy books the library, give our social worker funds to assist many of the families she works with (she assists with everything from groceries to winter clothes), subsidized trips, etc.

I am not ragging on Swistle I get where she is coming from, but not all Council's are the same. Our school is small and we rely on the fund-raising dollars to make up for the funding gaps. Out of a school of just over 400 students we have about 6-8 parents who support the Council - that is it. We manage to do an awful lot despite everything working against us. We never pressure our families at all, those that can help do, that is it.

Sorry for the rant. Personal one for me. Look at me all riled up today. I think I might be a wee bit cranky.

Jenifer said...

That would be "investing". Ooops.

bubandpie said...

I love how y'all think that I might MIND if you print and/or link to my post.

Please note that I don't claim to know HOW to fulfill all these goals.

And Jen - I might even take my kids to Disney World myself one day. ;)

kgirl said...

Very honest of you.
I know I will struggle with feeling that it is my job to ensure my children's happiness and shield them from all hardship.

mek said...

I like this a lot - made me think of my own my job/not my job lists (and I like being made all reflective!).

Also - I want your kids in my classes in 15 years or so. :)

Mary G said...

Indeed, yes. This deserves to be posted to a lot of people!
I could add one.
My Job: to think of and provide materials and opportunities ffrom which my children can learn.
Not My Job: to do anything about cries of 'I'm bored and there's nothing to do!'
On the other hand, grama is a very soft touch. Cries of 'Play with me' get a positive response.

A wonderful and (as always with you) thoughtful post.

Mouse said...

I like the way you've teased out the difference between support and micro-management. And it's interesting to think about which "not my job" statements are optional vs. to be avoided, a line which is very individual and requires reflection.

Janet said...

What b*babbler said. It's a list worth remembering.

Kimberly said...

That is a great list and a wonderful manifesto for parenting.

I especially loved the ones about their happiness, and working. You know, even if I *could* afford to pay the full shot for university, I don't think I would. In fact, part of Diva Girl's 14th birthday celebrations will be the ceremonial writing of the resume :)

Katrina said...

These are great. I heartily agree.

Jenn said...

Oh, if only more parents were aware of their job descriptions.

Great post. Absolutely great post.

slouching mom said...

Yes, yes, and more yes.

Christine said...

well it was a day late, but it was not a dollar short. this was great.

Mad Hatter said...

My job: to wonder how Bub made out on his first day of pre-school
Not your job: to pander to my curiousity

My job: to once again marvel at your prose
Your job: to continue to make it all seem effortless

bubandpie said...

Mad - Here's the short version:

The first day, he only went for an hour because I had a meeting that interfered with the pick-up time. When I arrived, all the children were sitting at the snack table except Bub, who was staunchly resisting all attempts to persuade him to join. Other than that, it was fine - just a free play session (no circle time or group activities).

Today was the first full morning, and when I arrived one of the teachers was holding up her digital camera victoriously to show me the photo of Bub sitting at the snack table. "I ate crackers!" he announced. Apparently he participated in circle time too. Total success - I couldn't have hoped for a better start.

Pie, on the other hand, is staging daily meltdowns and demanding constant access to her soother. She likes going to day-care but she's MAD at me.

(Okay, I guess that was the long version.)

Emmie (Better Make It A Double) said...

Awesome, truly.E

mayberry said...

I LOVE this! Am framing it!

Omaha Mama said...

Ditto.

Well done you.

Mad Hatter said...

Ya, I saw you mention the soother bit over at Sin's last night. I must admit I wasn't prepared for the regression. For Miss M it's "what's a potty? Why would I use a potty when I can demand a pull-up or just wait to pee in the tub. Sigh."

I'm glad that it's so far so good at least for Bub.

Her Bad Mother said...

Am printing out to stick on fridge. Yeah, I do that kind of thing. Once upon a time, it would have gone up on the push-pin board in my office at school. Now, fridge, beside WB's latest piece of paper plate art.

Wonderful, this.

Lawyer Mama said...

Love this list! I think this is my favorite: "To ensure that my children receive no benefits except those that are available to all." That's definitely something to strive for.

I'm so glad it's going well with Bub in school! Poor Pie will adjust. What do they say 2 to 3 weeks for adjustment to major changes?

Terri said...

I completely agree with you.

painted maypole said...

very nice. Except that I am looking forward to going clubbing with MQ and her underage friends... as it's hard to find people my age (old!) who want to go out dancing.

bubandpie said...

LM - Except that's one of my "NOT My Job" picks. I think sometimes it's optional (laudatory, but optional) and sometimes it's bad parenting, but knowing exactly which it is in a given situation requires the wisdom of Solomon.

metro mama said...

Love this. I agree with all of these, 100%.

Magpie said...

Wonderful post.

PeanutButtersMum said...

As usual, very entertaining and thought-provoking. Kudos!

WONDERWOMAN said...

I really enjoyed this post because it's a really healthy way of raising children. I'm always reading my friends books about good parenting (I want to be prepared, for when I have kids) and it seems to me you've summed up a lot of what I've read.

I don't know if you meant the post to be funny but it gave me giggles because for some reason it struck my funny bone. I just wanted to elaborate on the comment I posted earlier so you knew that I really liked the post and gained wisdom from it as well as it being funny to me.

Mary-LUE said...

I'd call this primer on parenting. And you're right, some of them aren't bad parenting but just preferences. Still, it is so good to differentiate what is and isn't your job as a parent.

It is always great to get such a wonderful reminder (esp. as my son nears 16!) and to know that there are other parents out there with similar values.

ewe are here said...

Fantastic post.

I love all of them, but especially instilling love and confidence. The rest will follow.

DaniGirl said...

So many of the "my job" items are intangible, and so many of the "not my job" items are materialistic. Hmmm, there must be a lesson in there somewhere...

Gwen said...

I shouldn't have bought my 7 year old her own cell phone? Is that what you're saying? But all her friends have one .....

(You know I'm kidding; I am resisting the begging for an iPod, too, even though the 5 year old next door has one.)

Good job, B&P.

Mimi said...

Well, this is very reasonable, isn't it! Well said, Bubandpie, well said. Eady to agree with when I see it all written out like this, but hard to put into practice sometimes when I am right in the thick of it ...

Mad Hatter said...

One more:

My job: to nurse my child through sickness and injury

Not my job: to shelter her from all germs and routine childhood hazzards

Lawyer Mama said...

Whoops! I realized my misunderstanding later, B&P. I was seeing it more as a goal. Not that we should deprive our children, but that we should demand more for those less fortunate.

Julie said...

Wow. I just bought this gorgeous somewhat alternative baby book that has pages and prompts for things like "adventures we have taken together" and "our hopes and dreams for you" and I'm thinking that making one of the blank pages into a "our values" page is a great idea. I love your post.

Thanks.

Emily said...

I agree with IT ALL, but this was my favorite:
"Not My Job: To ensure that my children receive no benefits except those that are available to all."
There is a liberal notion that, just because we want to improve things for everyone, we ought to not give our kids everything we can. We should work towards both.

AnneK said...

Wow, really good stuff. The child-rearing manifesto. And if you change your mind and take your kids to Disney land, don't forget to stop by :)

nowheymama said...

I want to print this out and hang it somewhere. Excellent post.

cinnamon gurl said...

This is seriously brilliant. And I love the other commenters' idea to print it out and post it on the fridge. It's so easy to lose perspective...

bren j. said...

They should hand copies of this out to new parents before they leave the hospital. Thanks for sharing!

Lori said...

I've never commented before, but frequently read.

I enjoyed this post, and even more so the comments after. I am glad you clarified that some of your "not my jobs" are based on your own values and interests, and not necessarily indicative of "bad" parenting.

As a mother of older children than you have (a junior high schooler-gulp!), I would also humbly encourage you to consider that your job is also to move through the years with a degree of flexibility and forgiveness. Things that sound absurd now, may take on new logic as your kids get older. A cell phone for a teenager may sound like an unnecessary luxury until your child is old enough to be out in the neighborhood by himself and you realize that if he had a cell phone you could track him down if necessary, and he could also immediately call home if he runs into trouble. There are ways to provide children some of the benefits of technology and present them as privileges, rather than luxuries.

As you said, many of these ideals are easier to say than to implement. I say that with a sigh...

bubandpie said...

Lori - What I had in mind with that one, actually, was a couple of posts I've read from Owlhaven and Veronica Mitchell about the assumption that family size must be determined by income - and that one can "afford" another child only when there's enough money to pay for all those gadgets AND four years of university tuition.

Add to that a conversation I had a couple of weeks ago with a newlywed who plans to have only one child so that she can afford to give a car as a 16th birthday present ... and there you go.

Lori said...

Oh yes, I would be in complete agreement with you there. The idea that a car for a 16th birthday present is a given, is completely foreign to my way of thinking.

I guess I would say that, in my mind, family income shouldn't be completely unrelated to family size. But, not down to the ability to afford all of the bells and whistles. We have certainly sacrificed a certain lifestyle to be raising three children, but I have actually never considered for one second it to be a sacrifice. So long as we can afford the "needs" of our family, I won't worry about all of the "wants."

Excellent post!

kittenpie said...

Oh, so right on every score. So nice to read from someone with a reasonable grasp of what promotes our values and helps our children to grow without imposing everything on them or handing them everything. Sanity at last!

Patois said...

Is there some petition of this going around? 'Cause I'll sign it. Now, whether I'll get a majority of others to sign it? Not bloody likely. But that's okay, really, what matters is what me and mine do.

Julie Pippert said...

Geez, is there space down here for one more comment? :)

Brilliant.

I would have liked best the one you left off, but that's personal (very) as you said.

Barring that, I really like the bit about potential.

God sear that into my brain, please.

Absolutely brilliant. Thanks for playing. :)

Julie
Using My Words

Veronica Mitchell said...

Very well done.

My favorite is:
My Job: To equip my children to be flexible, resilient, caring adults.
Not My Job: To make my children happy, now or in the future.

Swistle said...

Jenifer- The PTA could put every dollar directly into starving children's mouths--and it would still not be my job as a parent to comply with the way the PTA thought I should spend my money.

Ally said...

Could you please consider this comment a nomination for a perfect post for this post? I am way too lame to figure out how to do it officially. Okay, I'll try... let me see what I can drum up. I really did think this is a perfect post. Loved it.

V-Grrrl said...

Perfect. Well said, and even better thought through!

TNMomof5 said...

This should be handed to everyone as they leave the hospital with their newborns. FABULOUS stuff!! Thank you!

Angie said...

Wow! You really made me think about and realize what my job really is as a parent. Thank you!

Mommy Bits said...

This is great. I really enjoyed all of them.

Susanne said...

What a great post! And I just had a conversation with my husband last evening along the very same lines. Maybe it is something in the air. (Or it has something to do with the "back to school"-time.)

Antique said...

They should hand this out in the delivery room.

My Buddy Mimi said...

I would embroider this on something. If I could embroider, that is.

Marymurtz said...

What everyone else said. This is fantastic!

Momish said...

Well said and well done! I just read a great article (in Philly magazine) that touches on a lot of these issues, out of control parenting. etc. I wrote about it and linked to on my post yesterday. I think you will find it interesting and refreshing!

Shelley said...

My oldest has just started her first year of university, and every day there seems to be new decisions for me to make concerning my job/not my job. She's also struggling with what SHE expects from me in terms of parenting from day-to-day. Your "manifesto" is extraordinarily insightful, and really resonates with me. It's going up on my office wall. (as I tend to not see things on the fridge)

the new girl said...

I'm going to pile on and tell you how much I loooooved this post.

I think it's a 'perfect post' for sure.

Amanda said...

Whoosh, thank you.

Annie said...

Excellent! I found this via Poot and Cubby, Andi's nod for perfect post- I think she got it spot on, as did you.

Sarah Denley said...

B&P, I'm back and lurking through your archives! I loved this post and wondered if you'd mind if I borrowed the idea- really just the format. I was planning on linking to you, of course, but I wanted to ask your permission first. Thanks!

Bea said...

Sarah - Go right ahead! It always makes me a bit wistful when I revisit the old days when this blog was such a crowded, bustling place!