If you were to create an ideal parent, what qualities would s/he have? What would they look like? What would they say or do?
I've been thinking about this question for quite some time. In many ways I find the topic a bit daunting, so I'd like to open up the conversation. I'd like to ask you to join me by adding your thoughts, feedback and comments. While I make some suggestions of the things that I think are important, I invite you to respond with your agreements, disagreements and/or added suggestions. I feel this is a community issue that honestly deserves input from a variety of sources. So, please feel free to add your vice to the discussion.
I think "loving" is the most important characteristic that an ideal parent needs to demonstrate. When we are loving, we are consciously sharing our thoughts and feelings; we are tenderly touching and holding our child with care. We are playful and joyful in our actions and in our guidance. We take time to listen and to explain things to our child so they are able to understand. We always answer the child's questions. We create quality time where we can look into the child's eyes and connect with their "soul." We create an environment that is safe from any emotional, mental or physical harm.
Another major characteristic that an ideal parent demonstrates is being a positive role model. A positive role model demonstrates and presents a healthy lifestyle that involves exercise, nature, art and self-expression. A positive role model prepares food that nourishes the eyes, the mouth and the body. They are wise in their words and actions. They strive to express their wants in a positive manner. They have hindsight, now-sight and foresight. They are not afraid to say they made a mistake and they are open to feedback on how they can do things better. They don't blame others, nor do they portray themselves as a victim. They teach the concept of acceptance by using everything for their upliftment, advancement and growth. They demonstrate the concept of patience by being present -- enjoying what is going on in the moment -- no matter what. They consciously present the concept of cause and effect so the child can learn through its experiences what is effective, and what is not effective. Since they know they are more than just a mother or a father, they take time to nurture and care for themselves so they can give from their overflow.
Ideal parents demonstrate moral and spiritual responsibility. They believe in hope. They hold a space for their child to develop into who s/he truly is -- verses trying to make the child into something "they" want. They consistently demonstrate good boundaries and give their child permission to say "yes" and "no" when it's appropriate. They encourage the child to dream, to be more, and to think "outside the box." They teach the child to regularly look into the mirror and say, "I'm loving you."
Ideal parents create a social environment where the concept of "family" extends out into the community and expands to all our brothers and sisters on the planet. Friends are welcomed and play is an opportunity to learn, to grow, to communicate, and to share. Formal education is embraced and the development of the intellect is valued and praised. Discipline and consistent daily routines, that support the family and the community, are demonstrated and reinforced. The child knows that they can count on their parent to hold, to comfort, to listen, to understand, and to love them.
An ideal parent strives toward their ideal, however, s/he knows it's not reasonable or realistic to expect or demand that they always are ideal. An ideal parent extends forgiveness to him/herself when they miss the mark. An ideal parent knows parenting is an ongoing learning process. Oh boy, more fun!
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