I conducted a survey of twenty-five educated parents who were also professionals in the business community. Their children were in both private and also public elementary schools. When we asked how their parenting contributed to their children’s character, the parents provided interesting responses, all of which describe parenting with awareness and heart:
- Letting their child know they love them in a lot of ways.
- Speaking kindly.
- Respecting their individuality.
- Letting them make their own decisions.
- Helping them feel empowered.
- Really listening to what they have to say.
- Not giving advice all the time, but to help them make the right choices.
- Teaching kindness and compassion by being kind and compassionate.
Our Relationships to Children
A thirty-five-year-old advertising executive adopted her five-year-old nephew from an abusive home situation.
A forty-year-old factory worker adopted an Asian child from .
A baby boomer couple adopted two Afro-American children whose parents were killed in a car accident.
A single father raising his six-year-old daughter.
A homeless father living with his two children in their station wagon.
The adults in these scenarios have their own unique parenting relationships with their children. Whether the family bonds grow out of biology or adoption, each adult has developed a love that transcends any cultural boundary or societal expectation. The character of the parenting is shaped by the quality of the relationship. This is parenting in our definition.
Parenting with heart and awareness challenges each of us to demand of ourselves the pioneering spirit to begin a new, aware relationship with our children. This is what the parenting revolution is about!
Expression in the World
How do you model character for your children? Our personal character grows out of, and reflects, our sense of self-worth, esteem, and an ability to interact with others from a place of empowerment. Our character modeling includes our words, postures, thoughts and attitudes, and our self.