Below is my personalized, parent inventory of values called DEAR KIDS. This self inventory is a collection of values that I believe motivate me to become and be a good dad.
Dance – from the day our child is born we create an emotional dance. This parent-child dance lasts a lifetime. What is your dance? A waltz …rock and roll…rumba. It does not matter what the age of your child is the emotional dance must be continuously nurtured. When is the last time you asked your child to dance?
Education – advocate for your child’s education in a proactive manner and stay involved. School often becomes a battleground between parent and child. It is the parent’s responsibility to lay the groundwork. Remember your child only gets one education.
Available – be emotionally available, listen with your ears and your heart. Routines can fill a day. Material things can satisfy a fancy. But, they do not fill hearts. Being emotionally present with your child establishes a foundation of trust that helps establish your child’s sense of self.
Role model – our children are sponges and they watch us operate. We teach them by what we do, not just what we say. Even though we want to establish ourselves as positive role models to our children, we must keep in mind that we are attempting to model “the kind of a person” we hope they become and not be focused on what they “must be”.
Kindness – relationships are guided by kindness, respect and honesty. I believe these three virtues are the pillars that keep relationships standing tall. Kindness, respect and honesty keep relationships alive and healthy.
Instill hope – in our continually changing world, our children must witness and experience hope, as well as a belief that their immediate world is safe and secure. We cannot hide the fact that wars are being waged around the globe and we must remember that throughout time war has always shown “it’s ugly face”. However, our homes can be peaceful and lay the foundation for hope.
Dialogue – connect with your child by talking with, listening to and exchanging ideas. Establishing and maintaining an open dialogue with your child can become the centerpiece of your relationship that withstands periods of avoidance and communication breakdowns.
Smile – humor, laughter and smiles, as my 14 year old daughter reminds me, are the best medicines. They help all of us to take a big breath of fresh air. Humor is an age old classic remedy that helps us all endure the “pains of life”.
DEAR KIDS is a personal inventory that allows me, as a parent, to be reminded of the responsibility I have in raising my children. DEAR KIDS is a parent inventory that motivates me as an individual to become a better person. DEAR KIDS is a model and represents a perspective; a way of becoming and being a parent. This is not an exhaustive list. Each parent must look inward and develop his or her own parent inventory of values. The parent inventory is an ongoing dynamic process that evolves with time and experience.