By Karin Calloway
My parents, Paul and Carol Gage of Evans, have five grandchildren ranging in age from 3 to 24. As mother of two of these awesome kids and aunt to three, I’ve come up with a theory as I’ve watched them go from infant to adult. Here goes: I believe babies come to us as who they “are.” What I’m saying is that I believe their “nature” is intact when they come to us.
My Tripp was a force of nature…all energy…all passion. I was able to follow the direction of our pediatrician, Dr. David Allen, and get him to learn to go to sleep in his crib on his own when he was about 3 months old. But, he wanted MOMMY the moment his eyes opened. His “nature” was so present when he was even an infant.
Then my CC came along. She was calm…so much so compared to Tripp. But there was a fire in her. I’ve written before that her favorite word when she began speaking was, “no.” She’s always been very independent and observant.
Having been able to watch my kids go from zero to 22 and 24, I believe my theory is correct. Tripp and CC both still have the same mannerisms they did when they were very small. Sometimes it almost freaks me out! Tripp is still all energy and CC, who has loved books and art since she was very small, is majoring in print making and book arts at the Lamar Dodd School of Art at UGA.
So, what about the “nurture” part of the parrenting equation? If you buy my theory, here’s what you can do as you’re parenting your growing children. You can help soften their rough edges, as in teaching them manners and how to get along with others. You can teach them your family values. You can provide lots of opportunities for them educationally, socially, physically, etc.
Here’s what I’ve always tried to keep in mind while being mom to my two kids:
-The first thing is to LOVE them. They should never, ever have to question that.
-Remember that their spirit is more important than whatever you’re trying to teach them. It’s not as important to “correct” them as it is to LOVE them.
-Don’t let them be lazy. This may sound counter-intuitive, because we often want to make everything easy for them. But we all need to teach our children that they will, sooner than later, have to be able to take care of themselves. Both of mine had jobs as teens, beginning as day camp counselors after the 9th grade. Working while still in the nest helps them learn so many things about what life as an adult will be.
To sum it up: Love them. Protect the spirit of who they are. Make them participate in life.
This article appears in the April 2016 issue of Augusta Family Magazine.
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