Saturday, September 5, 2009

Out of the Mouths of Babes

Raising kids, from any generation, is challenging. From the moment they poke their little heads out, you worry about them and more importantly you worry if you are up to the challenge of being a parent to this helpless creature. My oldest daughter is about to embark on this journey and was sharing her concerns about her qualifications for being a good parent.

I tried to reassure her that most of those jitters come from the unknown. And more than one parent has lamented the fact that babies do not come with directions or manuals. But I think I have found a book that puts it all into the right perspective - from that of the child.

Always Kiss Me Good Night by 147 Kids Who Know, is, for all intents and purposes, an instruction manual on raising the perfect parent. Compiled by J.S. Salt this little book tackles the big subjects of Caring, Guidance & Independence and Family & Friends. Written in the children's own handwriting, we find such sound advice as "Keep your promises better" from Jeanette 10 years old. And Stuart age 8 writes, "Don't leave me in the car when you go to do stuff."

"Think when you were a kid and not yell so much" writes Joe and from Suzanne we have the wise words, "If you get mad at me remember to forgive me." At age 11 1/2, Julie writes, "Don't laugh at me when I need to ask ?'s." And Britney speaks with the voice of experience as she writes, "Please don't kiss me in front of school." Aaron, age 9, strikes me as an attorney in the making as he pleads, "Don't punish me for doing things by accident."

"We were embarking on the most important job of our lives and we didn't have instructions" said J.S.Salt who had the privilege of compiling these profound thoughts. "But I discovered the advice I'd been looking for: kids with greater wisdom that I'd ever imagined."

Yes, out of the mouths of babes often comes the most sound and often dismissed advice. But if we listen carefully, we will find kernels of truth and keen observation. This one in particular, from Christine age 10, I found to be most profound. "More free time! Don't fill my life up every minute of the day." Yes, Christine, that is precisely what a wise grandma thinks, too.

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