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Parenting Guide Sheets
6. Painting the Picture

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Page 6B
3. Grab the Day (Continued)
You go for a day out somewhere as a family. Take some photos and print them off on one page to remind you what you saw. Put in entry-ticket stubs, or brochures, catalogues or flyers, that you can use to build the picture and remind yourselves years later what you did. A year later, go through the scrap book with the children and get them to recall what happened. You teach them to value the good times and to hold onto good memories.
Memories are a gift, so don't lose them. Anchor them with a scrap book or pictures or videos stored on your computer. Make a family notice board somewhere in your home and pin up the things that remind you of what you've done and where you've been this year. Grab the day and hang on to it.

EXERCISE:  Dream! Think of ways that you can manufacture meaningful moments that make magical memories (The 6 m's!). Think about what each of the m's means. Again if you keep a journal, jot these ideas down.

4. Look Forward

So, creating a vision of what could be. Let's pick up and develop some of the things that come out of the chapter headings by Edith Schaeffer:

Helping our children to:
 Realise that change is here to stay
 - teaching them that change is not to be feared but embraced
 Learn to understand and respect themselves
 - teaching them self-esteem with humility
 Learn to cope with being imperfect
 - not being put off when they fail or get it wrong
 Express the creativity within them
 - encouraging them to express themselves in art or music or whatever other creative form is in them
 Learn to relate well within the family and outside it
 - teaching them to respect and honour others
 Experience the security of a home that picks them up when they are knocked down
 - teaching them to care and show compassion by the way you do it for them
 Develop in their capacity to learn school work, and life skills
 - helping them enjoy learning of all sorts.

Perhaps we might combine some of these and summarise them as:

a) Life Formation
- Knowing who you are and enjoying who you are       
b) Learning
 - How to relate well to others
 - How to cope with all types of circumstances

Two other things to think about:
 - Living with Change
 - Learning within Change
i) Living with Change

About 25 years ago I was on a Course where it was suggested that the average person starting out in their working life would change their Careers (not just jobs) at least three times before they reached retirement (I have actually done that 3-career change!)

A little while ago I came across forecasts that suggested that with the nature of the Western world today, the average person starting out in their working life would change their Careers (not just jobs) at least fifteen times before they reached retirement!
Now you may find that difficult to believe, just as I did with the three career changes twenty five years ago, but this is the nature of the world in which we live.
ii) Learning within Change

If you are just about to start a family, it is going to be quite a lot of years before your child will be entering the job market. There are likely to be even more changes in that time.
To change my complete career three times has meant that life has involved a lot of ongoing learning.
If your child is going to change their career even more, then they need to be learning from very early on to be flexible and open to new things and new ways of learning.

Computer-use-analysts suggest that many children are more computer literate than their parents.
This is just one step up from the parents who are out of their depth with their children's maths homework by the time the child is twelve.
It suggests that if we are parents we have got a lot of learning to do ourselves if we are support and encourage our children (and that doesn't mean do their homework for them!!!)
Another facet of living and learning in the twenty first century is teaching our children not to repeat the mistakes society is making today. The term dysfunctional is quite common today, referring to families or individuals. To educationalists it suggests families who have lost orientation of who they are and what they could be, and parents who have lost sight of the potential of their roles as parents.
If you have read this far, it suggests that you are not such a parent and you want to think through and then work through the issues suggested on this and the other pages here in this Parenting series, so that you and your children will not go down the painful path that so many others seem to be going down.

EXERCISE: Reflect on the changes in your life that you have seen. Assuming the next generation will see even more changes, what sort of environment do we need to create for our children and how do you think we may go about doing that?

5. Recap

On this page we have seen:
1.  Pictures from the Past
- The difficulty of learning from the past, and our own parents   
2.   The Difficulty of Painting a Picture
- A glance at a writer from the past and some things to be considered  
3.  Seize the Day
- Safeguards against living in the future
- Making the Most of Today
- Holding onto good memories in the Past
4.  So Look Forward
- Identifying some of the areas where we can be there for our children
- Coping with the ongoing and rapidly changing world
To conclude, determine that you are going to be parents who will think about the future and work on it for the benefit of your children. Go for it!

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