Roots. And Wings. . . . .

Good parenting is critical for the development of children.  In my post of October 31, 2011, I spoke of how nature and nurture play a significant role in the growth and development of children.  How it is best to guide a child to achieve his or her greatest and highest potential rather than to steer a child into a parental choice of interests, profession and schools. 

Then in my post of April 23, 2012, I mentioned my attendance at an insightful  presentation by psychotherapist Alice Virgil who spoke on how to build strong kids (and on the things parents and grandparents can do to participate in this development).  Tops on her list were encouraging relationships, creativity, awareness, courage, initiative, morality and spirituality.  

In a recent Sunday sermon, our pastor added further inspiration for parents using a famous quote of Henry Ward Beecher.  “The greatest bequest we can give our children is roots and wings.”  The book Hot Chocolate for the Soul expands on this admonition — and provides context:  “Good parents give their children roots and wings.  Roots to know where their home is, and wings to fly and put into practice what they have learned.”    

It’s a tough job being a parent (a wee bit easier being a grandparent 🙂 ) but little words of wisdom like those above can’t help – but help.   

Patrol Boys

(An old favorite from 11/20/14)

When I was in 6th and 7th grade, I was a “patrol boy.” I was given a white Sam Brown belt (a 3″ white belt with an angled strap from one hip to the opposite shoulder). And I was given power. I was the capo di tutti capi (or one of them) for Lincoln School in Mt. Prospect. Donna was a patrol girl back in Rye, NY.

I stood at the street corner. When kids wanted to cross the street, I would thrust my arms out to the sides (“don’t go“). When traffic slowed, I would step into the street and shove my arm into the air – stop! And cars would slow and stop. It’s a patrol boy. Kids would cross. I would step back and motion the drivers with an “as you were” wave. 6th grade.

Today, you see crossing guards who are older than dirt. Some look old enough to be my grandfather (or grandmother). Now that’s old. Not as nimble as a patrol boy. They wear iridescent vests, reflective hats, and they carry a monster “STOP” sign. A few look like they’re geared up for a SWAT team. I remember seeing one old guy wearing a helmet.

I always wondered why the patrol boy era came to an end. Probably lawyers. And parents who worry about giving their child authority. Autonomy. Power. Risk. I frankly think it would be great if we could resume the patrol boy (and girl) era. Think about the sense of responsibility. Confidence. Growing up. Yes – I know it’s a different time. But it’s still the old protecting versus insulating children (see my offering of 11/21/13). We want to give children wings. And roots.

Roots and Wings

Good parenting is critical for the development of children.  In my post of October 31, 2011, I spoke of how nature and nurture play a significant role in the growth and development of children.  How it is best to guide a child to achieve his or her greatest and highest potential rather than to “steer” a child into a parent’s choices of interests, profession and schools. 

In my post of April 23, 2012, I mentioned my attendance at a wonderful presentation by psychotherapist Alice Virgil who spoke on how to build strong kids (and on the things parents and grandparents can do to participate in this development).  Tops on her list were encouraging relationships, creativity, awareness, courage, initiative, morality and spirituality.  

Last Sunday in a sermon, our priest added further inspiration for parents using a famous quote of Henry Ward Beecher.  “The greatest bequest we can give our children is roots and wings.”  The book Hot Chocolate for the Soul expands on this point — and provides context:  “Good parents give their children roots and wings.  Roots to know where their home is, and wings to fly and put into practice what they have learned.”    

It’s a tough job being a parent (easier being a grandparent :)) but little words of wisdom like those above can’t help – but help.