Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Wisdom From the Past

This passage is from a 1940's Better Homes and Gardens Baby Book that was given to me recently:

Your adored and precious baby has left your lap. He's an eager little runabout, going everywhere, wild for experience and adventure. You couldn't keep him sheltered in your arms if you tried! He's on his way!

You have a right to be proud and happy because the love and careyou've lavished upon him have provided him with so healthy a body, so eager a mind.

Now comes the question, "How can I best fit him for what lies ahead?"

We have seen in the past that the world can change overnight from a safe, pleasant place to one of grim effort, sacrifice, and hardship. FAthers and mothers can't be blamed for wondering whether the gentle philosophies which have dominated child-rearing these past years will prepare children adequately for such a world. It's natural that we should ask ourselves whether sterner attitudes and punishments are called for.

But let's stop and consider. The boys who accepted the disciplines of the last war so splendidly and who endured hardships we can never know, were reared by that philosophy. It has proved itself under fire.

A wise man has pointed out that a gardener doesn't expose his tender spring seedlings to frost and chill, just because he knows winter is coming. He doesn't keep pulling and tugging them up by the roots to accustom them to future hurricanes.

Instead, he cherishes them with the utmost tenderness, so they'll have a chance to grow sturdy and strong before they meet the storms. He knows such care will give them the best chance to survive.

Thus it should be with our children. The colder and harsher world outside, the more they need warm affection in their own homes. Don't be fraid to love and cherish this precious little chap. Don't give up trying to see things from his viewpoint. Don't give up working problems out ina gentle, understanding way. These will do for him what the glass covering of the houthouse frames does for delicate plants. Warmed and sheltered by your love, he'll have a chance to strike deep roots and to stand staunchly when the protective covering is removed.

Adorable as he is, your little rascal is going to try your patience many times during the next four years. In days of strain and anxiety, there will be a tendency to expect too much of little folks. Don't fall into that error. Don't allow yourself to get stern or cross or frantic when your preschooler merely acts as any preschooler will. Keep your poise and your sense of humor. Keeping them for your child's sake will help you keep them in dealing iwth the real problems that press in from outside your home.

Enjoy him! Two to six is one of th emost entertaining and intriguing of the ages of man, if you hold fast to your perspective. Let no unfounded worries rob you of the pleasure and fun you should find in your preschooler.

Strengthen your child by encouraging him to be self-reliant, independent, and responsible for his own needs. Insist upon the health habits which will keep his body strong and fit. Provide the means for turning his interests and abilities into skills and definite knowledge.

When he passes at last thru the gate of adolesence into maturity, from the shelter of your home into the unknown, he'll be strong, confident, and fearless. He'll be kind and generous because he himself is rooted in love and in gentle ways. In short, he'll be the kind of lad you'd like him to be!

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