Sunday Sayings – Children and Parenting

Stacia Taunscher quote

Sayings, quotes and proverbs offer us knowledge; knowledge that is passed to us in much the same way a relay runner might pass a baton. Once it’s handed over, it is up to us what we do with it and how we pass it on.

sunday sayings

If you are a parent of a young child, you might worry about what your child may or may not do with their life. Often these concerns are unfounded, and the universe sorts everything out in time. Sometimes it doesn’t and we need to listen to our gut feelings, follow up and intervene. But how much intervention is really beneficial?

children parents Vigeland sculpture


‘What parents whisper, their children shout!”


~ Dutch proverb



children

It is a difficult task to know the boundary between what might be considered a helicopter/over-protective parent and on the flip side, a casual approach to child rearing that allows a child to develop without any sort of intervention.

Children are like wet cement – whatever falls on them makes an impression.”

— Haim Ginott, child psychologist

I think most parents try to find that middle ground. Each child’s needs are so uniquely individual.

Christmas gift

Several years ago, I created ‘Proverbial Friday’ on my blog. I became fascinated with traditional proverbs, quotes and sayings, their metaphorical layers and the many different interpretations found within just a few, succinct words. I marveled at their ability to transcend race, religion, opinions and age.

LeggyPeggy and I read a relevant article about children, parenting and boredom, that I shared recently on Sunday Sayings. It makes for interesting reading and started me thinking: –

Have we become slaves to the potential to our children? Do we wish them to succeed so much that we bend over backwards in providing the best opportunities for them?

In doing so, have we prevented them from experiencing opportunities that might assist them to become more self-reliant and independent?

as the article suggests.

Teach your children early not to pass the blame or make excuses, but to take responsibility for their actions.”


–Eric Greitens


“Your children are not your children.
They are 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.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts,
For they have their own thoughts.
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.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.”

~ Khalil Gibran

Today on Sunday Sayings, I am looking at several thoughts on the subject and would love to hear your opinions. You may strongly disagree or agree. Everyone’s opinion is important.

What do you make of the words shared today?


They are invariably Something to Ponder About

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43 thoughts on “Sunday Sayings – Children and Parenting

    1. Kahlil was am inspirational writer. The line about the children’s souls dwelling in the house of tomorrow where you cannot visit is reality whether we like it or not. Furthermore, he makes the point that we might shape children and give them a head start in life, but that won’t necessarily determine where they will end up: you are merely the bows from which the arrows, (that are your children) are sent forth. A beautiful piece of writing that is close to my heart and reminds us of our role, so we can enjoy the moments yet still see the bigger picture.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. thanks, Lorelle. You are so sweet. That was a long time ago! She would be somewhat mortified by the photo! I think it was taken at an exhibit at the Sciencecentre. Does Melbourne have one of those?

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I agree with all the quotes. The last by Gibran I had in my notebook a long time ago in Slovenian language: “Vaši otroci niso vaši otroci…” I still know it by heart. I don’t have children and it’s easy to be smart now in theory. For sure children need support and clear-cut borders. I had lots of former and not enough of latter.

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      1. No, having less boundaries makes you look for a structure, finally. Sound harsh, but a dog is also happy when it knows exactly what it can do at all times. Because if it doesn’t, it will push you off the sofa bit by bit.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. That is a great analogy. I had a dog that would stretch out its legs and push me further off the couch!!
        I was always of the understanding that children may continue to push outwards until they encounter the boundary limit (or resistance). So delinquents keep pushing the acceptable limits of behaviour until something stops them, usually the police or the justice system.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yet my son who was given less boundaries than his siblings, has little structure in his adult life. He is a creative musician and can be quite disorganized and spontaneous.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. “Your children are not your children.
    They are 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 love all your quotes and they each have wonderful merit. Khalil Gibran was a genius!

    I have known this since the beginning of my time and not sure how. When I had children, I knew my job was to oversee but not coddle. I was trusted with their care and expected to make them ready for what was to come. To be adaptable and mostly to be honest and kind. I felt as though I was witnessing the growth of another human without trying to make it what I wanted it to be. My humans are very different people. But they ended up adaptable, honorable and extremely kind. I could ask for nothing more. I set solid boundaries for their wellbeing but always heard their side of everything. I listened but told them they were living in a dictatorship and until they paid their own rent, I was the final authority. 🙂 None of that did I experience growing up. I sprinkled them with love each day and fed them gratitude. Always, always be grateful was my mantra, even for the challenges. Children are gifts to unwrap and see what comes from inside the container. I have never been more grateful for my children than I am right now.

    In reading the comments on boundaries, I noticed that they made my children feel loved and safer even while resisting mightily. They must test them to grow. I would find safe places to let them loose a little while holding firm on others. I think I just got darn lucky because they don’t come with a book. I think sometime that children always give you what you expect from them. I had a teacher that expected us all to succeed, so we did. I was quite impressed by the experiment. Even though mine are grown I find this a fascinating subject as I see so many children feeling untethered and insecure, acting out daily. It hurts my heart.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Lovely comment, as always Marlene. Every single time you comment, it is a pleasure to read. Your children are indeed lucky to have you to parent them. I am absolutely sure you peppered them with love. Some children are more difficult than others to raise but mostly they rise to one’s opinion of them. And so test the boundaries. To grow up adaptable is a worthwhile trait, as it enables a person to cope with the constant challenges of life. Gibran was a very special writer. I need to come back and read this again and again and each time, the words give you something more to ponder about. And I can’t believe you were any kind of dictator!!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I always had the final word even after listening to them. Sometimes, they were right and I was wrong. I was never a pushover but admitted when I hadn’t seen the proper way to look something. They just needed to know they didn’t run me. 🙂 You know exactly what I mean. I would imagine that with all your searching, you are raising wonderful children also. It’s the caring heart that matters most.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh I do hope so, Marlene. Two are wonderful but one still is a big challenge to me! I have to accept his values are now very different to mine. But we have spoken previously about expectations, acceptance and a belief that they will prevail. I hold on to that when things looks grim for him.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. I think that is one of the few things that can be done. Focus on the good (which he mainly shows to others). The world today can be so disenchanting and at times, messed up, but focusing on that is the road only to despair. Looking for the lightness is a way to find joy, even when the darkness tries to.prevail. If we lose belief in youth, they might truly be lost.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. It’s the new world of cellphones.. kids are at our beck and call.. In the old days if you wondered into the neighbourhood to play, you came home when ready.. Now you get a call..A friends son came to sleep many years ago and the mother phoned him to say goodnight.. I thought that was strange.. we slept out and you did not contact your parents till they came to fetch you the next day..

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    1. I agree with you that it is a bit over the top to ring. They are doing their own thing and have to grow into an independent person, not have Mum always there on their shoulder, like some kind of Gollum!! Lol. Seriouly though, I think this is the new world. People are wired into every one else constantly. It is a closer world of communication, and everyone knows where everyone is, but this doesn’t make anyone feel more secure, does it? In fact, it can make teenagers more visible to others who might not be very nice to them. That is the dark side of mass communication.

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  4. Helicopter parenting and telling children they can do no wrong have become unsettling trends here in the U.S. Several years ago the Dallas Independent School District in Texas tried to implement a “no fail” policy regarding student grades. At the time the failing grade standard was anything scoring below a 60. So the DISD declared that absolutely no student – no matter how poorly they did on a particular test of assignment – would get any grade below a 60. I believe the only exception was if they just didn’t do the work or take the test and – if not – they’d be given an opportunity to make up for it later.

    Parents and others were both stunned and outraged that one of the largest school districts in the U.S. would do something like that. Ultimately, it went nowhere. Obviously, if a student fails to produce good work or pass a test, they should get a failing grade. Giving a kid a passing grade just so they won’t get their feelings hurt is not helping them. It’s granting them a false sense of self-esteem.

    Letting children take risks and experience life’s bad side are just part of growing up and living in an imperfect world. Sadly, some may get hurt badly and even die. We have to do what we can to protect our youth, but we can’t keep them confined in concrete bunkers either. Telling children it’s not okay if someone touches their bodies or confronting bullying from the start are just a couple of ways we can shield them from harm and teach them to be as safe as possible.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. This is a tricky subject for some people and cultures. Norwegians do not believe in giving children examinations or tests before high school. Now they are under pressure to change things as the Finns are streaks ahead of them in the pisa scores. I agree with you that we can’t cotton wool kids but some kids are more vulnerable to negative comments such as those suffering anxiety. What comes first? Genetic vulnerability or an over protective education system or parenting ? Are they the chicken or the egg? Nature versus nurture? How do we tell the difference, Alejandro?

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      1. I was talking about tests given periodically throughout each school semester, along with various assignments, such as essays. I’m aware that each student is different; whether it’s personality or learning aptitude. But – at least here in the U.S. – the education system has gone from just hoping students understand what they’re being taught (and, if they don’t, that’s too bad) to coddling them as if they’re made of powdered sugar.

        I was very shy as a child, but I was also rather smart. I didn’t always do well in school because I would get bored easily. The same often happened to me in work environments. It takes a lot for me to stay interested in something.

        I don’t know if genetic vulnerability comes first and therefore deserves more attention. I believe nature and nurture work in concert with one another. When it comes to the human experience, a one-size-fits-all approach is misguided.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Totally agree, the one size fits all doesn’t work. Many would be and I suppose are disenchanted with that. Also agree about the powdered sugar part of your comment. There was a time here that it was popular not to say NO to children, but rephrase your answer in a way that the child is more likely to respond in the way you deem more appropriate. How ridiculous is it to think that we are teaching them this is the way of the world. ie. That noone will say NO to them. Recipe for disaster, even if parents and schools don’t say it, the community or workplace, or judicial system will!
        When you describe yourself as a child, you are also describing my son. I believe that was why he was drawn to the computer. It was open-ended, he did not have to deal with people who can be unpredicatable, and he could never be bored. Teachers and other parents/family would urge me to get him away from the computer. However, how could I when he had found his passion. Of course, this was within limits. He wasn’t allowed to be glued to the screen day and night, much as he would have wished to be. When others chose a reward for good behaviour, or a treat, consisting of chocolate, a small gift, extra outing/playtime, he would choose to have extra computer time! It has given him a head start with his career, even though he started his career late. He has had opportunities other never had, and I never had to deal with misbehaviour stemming from boredom. The reason I elaborated about that is to reinforce your comment of one size doesn’t fit all. And Norway doesn’t do any tests, periodic or not, on kids before high school. I asked a teacher about this and she said, all the children know where they are in the class – high achiever/average/low achiever. The teacher as well! She did not think she needed tests to know this. They considered it damaging to a child’s esteem to be pigeonholed by any kind of examination. I am not sure where I sit on that. Does that mean kids fall in a heap when they get test results back for the first time in high school? Or the older the kid, the better able to cope with adverse results? Still thinking on this one.

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  5. An excellent post. I like the quotes you’ve chosen. There is truth in them.
    After having had a wonderful career in network television, and about to receive a big award, an interviewer asked me about my greatest accomplishment. I replied: “Raising children who have become strong, decent adults.”

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    1. Congratulations, Cynthia on your greatest accomplishment, and thank you for taking the time to stop by my little blog. I think you enunciated what many of us want for our children, and actively try to promote. Some of us are more skilled at implementing that than others. Some of us are at a different stage of the journey than others. Some of us have different values. No matter what, there are many, (thank goodness) who are maliciously trying to see their children fail or trip up in life. I am reminded of another quote – not sure who said it that, “we don’t raise our children to need us.” If we can do that, we have indeed succeeded – no matter how much material wealth we might have. Family must come first – whether that family is friends, relatives or colleagues. I think many of us can rest easy if we can say we have achieved children who are adaptable and resilient. With such a busy career, was it difficult juggling family responsibilities simultaneously? I can imagine you are an effective time manager!

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    1. Thanks for your comment and link, Sunnies. I liked your post. It was just what I needed to hear today. Those closest to us mean so much, but if we feel cross with them, we need to remember this and our hearts melt. Again, thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great post – I particularly liked the Dutch saying. The surface reading is all too embarrassingly true, but it has a deeper meaning too where children amplify their upbringing. Some push against it, turning into the opposite of what their parents intended but other’s build on what they’re given.

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    1. That is very true, MysteriousMummy. Children can be a louder voice for what they experienced themselves, unless they rail against it and vow to be different. “The apple does not always fall far from the tree.”

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    1. That is a good point to raise, Nih -shunkaa. I work with Special Needs children, and they do require extra help in many areas. In the interests of equity and access, if the child expresses a wish to do all these things and the parent is happy to do that, so be it. Fatigue is a big issue in many disabilities and no doubt this would impact on the child’s enjoyment and choice of activities. Furthermore, to dove-tail from your point, the siblings of children with a disability suffer imposts on their choices and down time. Thanks so much for highlighting this.

      Liked by 1 person

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