The life story of Longfellow is full of drama, romance, and tragedy.
Do you hear groans coming from some parents about the tasks and responsibilities of parenting today? What can be done when parental joy seems lacking? A complaining attitude and conversation can spoil the fabric of family happiness.
John P. Blessington, former director of education relations for CBS Television, thinks negative attitudes should be examined and smoked out if parents are going to act as contributors, not inhibitors, to family happiness.
At a conference for parents, educators, classroom teachers, and daycare specialists, he addressed this topic and elaborated on “The Joys of Parenting – a Nondrug Approach.”
As an educator and father, Mr. Blessington observed some common obstacles to family harmony. He said, “There’s something very wrong with giving children everything, then complaining how spoiled they are.” What we often are not giving them, though, is the feeling of self-worth. This quality is promoted by teaching children how to care for themselves and their home. These were integral lessons for our fore-fathers, taught at home through wood chopping, butter churning, and other survival skills.
Another complaint from parents, Mr. Blessington pointed out, is that “my children just won’t help at home.” He examined a few reasons this is so. Excessive homework assignments and after-school lessons or clubs often rob children of their free time to do and contribute at home. Joy is restricted if children are enrolled in music lessons, soccer, ballet, etc., because of a parent’s interest or ambition, and not their own. “We should slow down our pace and be a quiet leader for happiness,” he recommended. Also, children cannot participate in a family if parents do everything for them. “Many mothers have a longer right arm from constantly picking up after everyone,” he smiled. “It’s a moral obligation to teach children the ‘wood chopping, butter churning’ chores of today.”
“There are fewer knobs on a washing machine than on a TV, yet some children grow up not knowing how to wash clothes, besides not knowing how to repair, manage, or maintain a home. As children gain in skill and self-confidence at home, then they’ll be prepared to do more for others. If they don’t seem to learn, then the natural consequences can often be the teacher.”
The former CBS executive added that parents often complain that children watch too much TV. His advice: “Find the good in TV and use it for all it’s worth. Don’t breed guilt into children.” Discussions, acting out programs, and adapting quizzes into game form extend its learning value.