life lessons taken from the history of my mom
Much of life is changeable, unpredictable, and uncontrollable. Giving children as much emotional stability as possible is important. I read somewhere that consistency is more important to children’s welfare than what you are consistent about.
If children can predict your behavior they know better how to control their world. In other words if a child knows what you believe, and love, and expect, they can make choices that will enable them to be successful. I knew the things that my mother and dad believed and expected. They made that clear and were consistent. I was able to make many choices that made my life less complicated and happier. Years later, when I was in college, I remember saying to myself, about a choice I was making, I know my mother would not approve of that. I was 2000 miles away from home, I was over 18, my mother would never know the choice I made, but her opinion and values mattered to me.
My father was also very concerned about fairness and other people. He was shy and really got embarrassed easily and didn’t want to stand out. He did things quietly and in the background. He never took advantage of other people. He was not outgoing, but he supported my mother in every thing she wanted to do for others. One example of this was his quiet example of cutting lawns. All of my growing up years until I was sixteen, when my grandma died and my aunts moved to an apartment, my mom and dad took care of Grandmas, Lizzie Latshaw and their own Lawns. They would cut and maintain all three lawns every Saturday. In all those years I never remember hearing a complaint from either of them.
I really love the stories about stability and consistency. I tried to provide stability with our family. I tried to set rules and bounds that were fair and logical and I explained why we did those things to my children. I tried to be consistent in following through. One example was calling names. Our rule was we do not call names. Whenever I heard someone call names I reminded them we did not do that, they needed to apologize and we went on. Most of the time the correction and an apology was enough, but sometimes the child needed to be removed from the situation. I explained if we could not do well in a social situation we needed to be removed from the situation until we could better control our behavior. There were times when I removed myself from the situation as well. Later in life my children would come home and with great surprise talk about how different people had used bad language, or called names. I felt good that it was a surprise to them. Stability and Consistency in principle and action count.