It is now clear to me that the family is a microcosm of the world. To understand the world, we can study the family: issues such as power, intimacy, autonomy, trust, and communication skills are vital parts underlying how we live in the world. To change the world is to change the family.
Rearing a family is probably the most difficult job in the world. It resembles two business firms merging their respective resources to make a single product. All the potential headaches of that operation are present when an adult male and an adult female join to steer a child from infancy to adulthood.
Parents teach in the toughest school in the word: The School for Making People. You are the board of education, the principal, theclassroom teacher, and the janitor, all rolled into two. . . . There are few schools to train you for your job, and there is no general agreement on the curriculum. . . . You are on duty, or at least on call, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, for at least 18 years for each child you have. Besides that, you have to contend with an administration that has two leaders or bosses, whichever the... Read more »
I want to love you without clutching, appreciate you without judging, join you without invading, invite you without demanding, leave you without guilt, criticize you without blaming, and help you without insulting. If I can have the same from you, then we can truly meet and enrich each other.
I think if I have one message, one thing before I die that most of the world would know, it would be that the event does not determine how to respond to the event. That is a purely personal matter. The way in which we respond will direct and influence the event more than the event itself.
Negotiating the adolescent stage is neither quick nor easy. . . . I have often said to parents, "If it isn't illegal, immoral, orfattening, give it your blessing." We do much better . . . if we find and support all the places we can appropriately say yes, and say only the no's that really matter.
I regard (parenting) as the hardest, most complicated, anxiety-ridden, sweat-and-blood-producing job in the world. Succeeding requires the ultimate in patience, common sense, commitment, humor, tact, love, wisdom, awareness, and knowledge. At the same time, it holds the possibility for the most rewarding, joyous experience of a lifetime, namely, that of being successful guides to a new and unique human being.
I feel that adolescence has served its purpose when a person arrives at adulthood with a strong sense of self-esteem, the ability to relate intimately, to communicate congruently, to take responsibility, and to take risks. The end of adolescence is the beginning of adulthood. What hasn't been finished then will have to be finished later.
Families and societies are small and large versions of one another. Both are made up of people who have to work together, whose destinies are tied up with one another. Each features the components of a relationship: leaders perform roles relative to the led, the young to the old, and male to female; and each is involved with the process of decision-making, use of authority, and the seeking of common goals.
In the nurturing family...parents see themselves as empowering leaders not as authoritative bosses. They see their job primarily as one of teaching their children how to be truly human in all situations. They readily acknowledge to the child their poor judgment as well as their good judgment; their hurt, anger, or disappointment as well as their joy. The behavior of these parents matches what they say.
I have talked about choosing rather than acting from compulsion. When you feel that you have to live according to someone else's direction or live so that you never disappoint or hurt anybody, then your life is a continual assessment of whether or not you please other people.