HOW TO PARENT FOR A BETTER WORLD
In building a better world, parents have the biggest job and the best chances of success.
Five days ago Europe has known one of the worst attacks since the end of the Second World War. There is now no doubt that the times when we could feel good about ourselves and about the European ideal of peaceful and prosperous life are over, if they were ever justified.
Now we know we are not safe. Mistakes have been made and now need to be made good. Startegies need to change. Doctors are doing their bits. Politicians, civil servants, journalists and even hackers are doing their bits. Hopefully they will all do a better job than they have done so far, but this is another story.
It is parents that have the biggest job to do, and probably the greatest scope to influence the world in which we will grow old and in which our children will have their own families. We as parents have the chance of raising a generation of children that are fulfilled and reasonably happy. We can make them so much better than we are, starting from the place where our own parents brought us. The children of tomorrow can be a lot of beautiful things:
They can be secure enough not to go into “fight or flight” mode as soon as they feel uncomfortable.
They can be aware enough to recognise their emotions and feelings.
They can be eloquent enough to put those emotions and feelings into words.
They can be brave enough to try and communicate with people that speak other languages and practice other religions.
They can be resilient enough to go beyond setbacks.
They can be clever enough to figure out the solution that is escaping us.
To be all this, children just need to receive “good enough” parenting. But what does that mean? Being well parented is not euqal to be taken care by the most qualified nanny in town. It is not to receive tonns of beautiful presents, nor to always be nicely and cleanly dressed. It is not to eat organic food every day, nor to attend the best school in the neighbourhood. Every single child, rich or poor, religious (any religion!) or not, educated or ignorant, can receive good parenting. Children do not need that much after all.
They need to be observed, perceived and treated as persons from birth.
They need to be listenend and responded to.
They need to be taken seriously and acknowledged.
They need to be taught about their emotions and feelings.
They need to be exposed to effective models of conflict resolution.
They need to be able to fail and try again.
They need to be given a chance to discover what they are good at and put that to the service of the community.
So if you are a doctor, as well as saving your patients’ lives, remember to be the best possible parent to your child.
If you are a politician, as well as fighting for your cause, remember to be the best possible parent to your child.
If you are a civil servant, as well as finding practical ways to solve the issue, remember to be the best possible parent to your child.
If you are a journalist, as well as reporting facts to the rest of the world, remember to be the best possible parent to your child.
If you are a hacker, as well as putting your skill to service for the right cause, remember to be the best possible parent to your child.
And if you are a bus driver, a psychologist, a cleaning lady, a philosopher, a teacher, a nurse, if you are unemployed and if you are a millionnaire, please remember to be the best possible parent to your child.
Because it is the only way we can get our children to solve the problems that are to difficult for us to solve.