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And nurture them as they grow to be a healthy SELF. This is our responsibility to our children. We often mistake our parental obligation as raising them to be the best of us, but that is not it at all. Our children come through us with an assignment from God and it is our responsibility to seek wisdom, guidance and direction from God, our ancestors and the elders as we move forward in this task. The Prophet Khalil Gibran talks about it in his poem Children, "Your children are not your children.They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself. They come through you but not from you, And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you." I thank God for a second opportunity to learn what I need to as a parent. This journey, parenting, is as much fun as it is work. My second time around has been as exciting as the first, even 24 years later. In my first cycle I learned to be firm, consistent, disciplined, financially responsible, unfortunately religious, and persistent. All of these lessons are important, of course, and shaped me to be the parent I am becoming in this second cycle. Attentive, firm yet relax, on purpose, financially intentional, spiritually grounded and secure, intentional with my health and wellness, and aware of my purpose as a parent/caregiver. Wow, this journey is awesome. The most amazing part of it all is that I am having fun in the process. I am realizing this as both of my children show me who they are...I am working hard at doing my job (listening). Prophet Gibran goes on to say, "You may give them your love but not your thoughts. For they have their own thoughts." We can teach, model, and transfer skills to them, which will enhance their life toolbox by "building their resiliency and mitigating the risk factors in their environments" (Henderson and Milstein, 1996). So what are the tangibles: Let's find out what they are naturally good at, and provide them with opportunities to participate; Allow them opportunities to build and maintain healthy relationships starting with US, their caregivers; As they grow older and gravitate toward not so healthy peer groups let's not change their peers, but CHANGE THEIR PEERS. What does this look you ask? Well let me enlighten you....we all want the best for our children: The best education The best friends/peers The best upbringing But do we all want the best for their peers? If so, then let us teach, model and transfer to their inner circle. Our children are not going to become pregnant by knowing a pregnant or parenting teen alone, but a pregnant and/or parenting teen can learn to be a stronger/wiser/healthier parent by being around me and my child, etc., etc.,etc. I am not suggesting we put our children in harms way, not at all. What I am suggesting however, is that we raise a healthy village, so THAT village is prepared to nurture healthier children. Gibran sums it up, "You may house their bodies but not their souls, For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams." http://poemhunter.com/poem/children-chapter-iv/
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