The more I study children, the more I realize that adults are basically grown up children who have learned to behave publicly. When you think about adulthood through the lens of childhood, the true intent of people will come into focus. People never grow out of the need to belong, or be loved, but time has shaped it to appear as something different. The games we played as children, we play as adults, but we call them by different names and the rules are much more complicated. I try to put together a view of the world that is balanced between realism and innocence. I think children are precious, and if I am going to be a father, I should spend time now trying to understand.
UNC-Charlotte has afforded me valuable education into the development of children. The most fundamental approaches have been through how children develop socially, educationally, linguistically, mentally, and the process of parenting. I took a course this semester on Personality Development that was essentially a course on parenting. The more I learn and am aware of different structures and situations in the world, the more responsibility I have to make an impact where I am. I am thrilled at the opportunities this can afford me.
The most effective form of parenting that produces secure attachments in children is inductive parenting. This shouldn’t come as any surprise: as adults we prefer to be told why we should perform a certain behavior and not just that we should, and it should not come as a surprise that children have the same need to understand, especially when they are always pulling the coat tails asking “why?” (I don’t know why I said coat tails. This isn’t 1870).
Induction | the act of bringing forward or adducing (as facts or particulars): http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/induction
This brings the values of a behavior into line with the child’s reasoning and allows the child and the caregiver/parent to actually engage in something with much more meaning. It focuses on the implications of actions vs. the consequences of the action. I remember when I was little and I had done something wrong. I was sitting on the edge of the bed waiting for my father to get home. I prepared the best I could, but I could do nothing but wait. The door opened. He didn’t stay long but said: “I’m not going to punish you, but I want you to know what you did today hurt your mother and I, and worse, it hurt God too. I want you to think about that.” That stand alone event had more impact and implication then any other corrective measure in my childhood.
The responsibility of raising children is not just growing people as though they are plants, but instructing and training them. Children want to be involved and we have a responsibility to teach them how. The values that are the most valuable are those that are real at the core of who we are: convictions. The reason I do what is right even though there is no gratification or external justification is because the conviction is real to me. When we assume children can be programmed like little machines, then what we impress on them is far less real with far less staying power then what we instill in them. Parenting is a very sacred job. Raising children is a blessing. It requires great patience and effort, but a reward I have heard cannot be matched.
I do not have children of my own. I have been exhausted working with the children I have, but I can never say it was not worth it. There is nothing quiet so tender as the moment of truth when a child trusts, and nothing as rewarding when you know that you mean something to them. I am happy with everything I have learned and to take up the roles in the future I will have.