As, a fan of the “Keep-it-Real Parenting Model,” I was quickly drawn to one of Nancy’s final tips.
Nancy, “You just can’t shield and shelter kids from real life. History proves censorship has never worked. Turn on the CBC radio and let them listen to community and world events. Be the safe person who is there to explain, and bring perspective to injustice and catastrophe. Answer their difficult questions and, if you don’t know the answer, tell them so while working to -find someone who might have the answer.” Tip 16
Nancy’s perspectives are as unique and interesting as she is. An adopted child herself, she and her husband now have adopted two children. She had many quoteable quotes, my favorite is how she identified her top female influences, in the most delightful way!
“My adoptive Mother who taught me to get an education, to become self-sufficient and to never rely or depend on a man. She also taught me if I enjoyed reading, I would never be alone.
My birth Mother who taught me about humility, sacrifice, and making difficult decisions, decisions that may not be great for you, but are in the best interest of your kids.
My daughter’s birth Mother, whose light shines so bright, she glows. I see this light in my daughter and I am grateful my daughter’s “tummy Mommy” is in our lives.”
Nancy’s life is so full with her two little treasures! She is always thinking of ways to help them to grow, and to get along, in the world. I admire her sense of adventure and her outgoing spirit! I’m betting there is never a dull moment.
Nancy is full of fun, yet surprisingly, her parenting tips were peppered with the seriousness. She truly gets the gravity of this role, as did the earlier mentioned women in her life. Nancy’s summary, “This shit ain’t easy or fun.” Although, she unquestionably finds time for fun, we both recognize, even that “shit ain’t easy.”
In highlighting Nancy’s 16th tip, “We can’t shelter kids from real life.” Of course, for the first few years “sheltering” may be doable. In fairness to the kids however, we should work diligently to expose them to, and facilitate, real life things in age-appropriate ways.
I agree we should bring perspective, and explaination, always, in everything we do. Assuming your perspective is not in the shitter. (That’s another topic.) We should not just let them listen to the news, explore the internet, or watch TV, without providing an appropriate narrative. High level monitoring is especially important in instances relating to death, illness, and even war, the heaviest stuff.
I believe if we are honest with our children, they will come to us for answers. I wanted Michael to know he could count on me, even if the truth was ugly. It’s important to start these conversations early.
Heartbreak, disappointment, betrayal, sadness, disease, death, violence, and other not-so-fun, even unthinkable, experiences may be racing toward them. It’s our job to prepare them.
It’s up to parents to teach children how to handle liars, cowards, and cheaters. We need to help them to recognize risk and risky people. They should know, many do not have their best interest at heart.
We need to train them in disappointment, so they can handle devastation. There’s a lot of ground to cover! They should expect things will not always go well. Things do not always go well.
The balance of teaching life’s pain, is where the parenting-ballet occurs. It is a carefully, choreographed danced for engaged parents. Conversely, it’s a non-issue for disengaged parents – more like a mosh-pit.
Teaching about death and life simultaneously, as has been said, “ain’t easy shit.” It is possible, and necessary, if we are focused on doing what’s best for our children! In our (mine and Nancy’s) humble opinions!