Thanks to mom, two friends practice “M&M” while on Spring Break.
WARNING: EXPLICIT VISUALS MAY NOT BE SUITABLE FOR AGES 16 AND UNDER.
Stay Vigilant, Mothers (and Fathers).
by Wendy Mather with Scott Feraco
Don’t ever give up trying to guide your children—your loving messages will get through!
As parents it is our responsibility to help our children differentiate between right and wrong, good and bad, moral and immoral… just remember, it takes time. Time with our kids—talking with them—modeling for them—demonstrating that we can differentiate between right and wrong, good and bad, moral and immoral. Sure, we will stumble along the way, but if we get back up and continue with confidence along the parenting path our kids will know that we don’t give up. Our conviction will prove our love and concern for them.
We all tell our kids to be “good”, yet too many parents will say, “Do what I say, not as I do.” This is a formula for failure. If we truly want what is best for our children we must practice ‘due diligence’ (“the care a parent should take before entering into an agreement with their child”) we must know, love and honor ourselves! We must practice virtues like Moderation and Modesty (and many other virtues). Only then will we be able to stand tall as an example. Then, when it comes time for our children to make important choices during Spring Break, they can make those choices based on their own personal integrity.
“Moderation is the silken thread which runs through the pearl chain of all virtues.” — Joseph Hall
Moderation is an empowering virtue. “We do not grasp to do or have more, in the belief that we are lacking.” We do not try to be everything to everyone. We set healthy boundaries that value our time and energy and protect ourselves from overdoing. We recognize our perfect rhythm…Moderation isn’t had through deprivation; it’s cultivated through accepting and loving ourselves enough to choose what is right.
Part of the responsibility of parenting is to somehow help our children discover, understand and exercise their capacity for moderation. As an adult living in our society, I struggle with that myself! In a world of high expectations, high performance and high competition, it’s often a challenge to find our own perfect rhythm and to balance work, rest, reflection and play. Often the demands of work, school and competitive sports in my household win over ‘reflection and playtime’. Too much work really does make jack a dull boy and often the remedy is a quick fix of overindulgence. This pattern tends to work in the short term but has no sustainable value in terms of supporting us in achieving a semblance of balance in our lives. One can only kick ‘dull’ in the ass so many times with a binge of chocolate or alcohol before the negative affects begin to kick back at you. Moderation protects us from the pull of addictive desires, so if we’re waging our own battles against overeating, drinking or ‘kicking the habit’, how do we expect our kids to figure it out?
Between the overpowering messages the media sends sexualizing everything from toothpaste to tree nuts, how does a child learn a ‘sense of respectful privacy’ about their bodies? Movies, music videos, T.V. commercials and magazine ads all become an endless barrage of sounds and images which project to young people what to wear, how to behave, what to watch and listen to, and how to spend the massive amount of disposable income this demographic has in order to keep the ‘machine’ oiled and cranking out the ‘must have’ messages.
We adults have created such a culture of entitlement. Narcissism is rampant and wreaking havoc with our ‘parental guidance systems’ and our attempts at nurturing the gifts of character in our children. Whatever happened to that sense of ‘quiet confidence’ which allows youth to enjoy their accomplishments without inflating their self-importance, attracting attention or bragging? We simply must return to acknowledging the virtues in our children as we see them in action. When we see modesty, we must name it and connect it right there and then to the evidence or situation in which we see them practicing the virtue. “I see your modesty in how you accepted your award in assembly with a sincere thank you and a smile”, or “I notice you chose to wear a tank top under your low cut t-shirt today; that’s modesty”. The acknowledgement is the currency that builds character from the inside out, and enables kids to recognized at their core that they intrinsically possess, not one, but many character attributes because we can ‘catch them in the act’.
The antidote to narcissism, entitlement, promiscuity and addictive patterns lives within each of us; and in some it’s a little more readily accessible than in others. Let’s be mindful, accountable and responsible and ‘hold up the mirror’ to our children’s virtues in action so they can see and hear the goodness that what we see and hear in them. Culturally, let’s come back to loving ourselves enough so we have no need to raise ourselves above others. Let’s try to resist the drive to overdo, to exaggerate our importance, and simply be grateful for our accomplishments, no matter what.
Linda Kavelin Popov writes, “Modesty reminds us that we are enough. Moderation frees us to enjoy life”.
Wishing you and your children “Victory via Virtues!”
Special thanks to The Family Virtues Guide, by Linda Kavelin Popov with Dr. Dan Popov Ph.D., and John Kavelin, and The Virtues Project, a global grassroots initiative to inspire the practice of virtues in everyday life.
©2013 SCOTT FERACO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THE “V” CHANNEL LOGO AND “VICTORY VIA VIRTUES” ARE SERVICE MARKS OF THE “V” CHANNEL, INC.