Thursday, June 25, 2009

Parenting and books


Today I was driving in my trusty Volvo, when an argument/disagreement broke out between my 14-year-old son and my six-year-old daughter. There is nothing like driving in an enclosed vehicle with a crying child; one that feels wronged by the older sibling and siblings' friend. As my little J. was sobbing away, trying to tell me how her older brother had just wronged her I have to admit I was rolling my eyes and rubbing my neck with annoyance because I get really tired of all these little arguments back and forth.

I attempted to divert her after I took in one deep, long, cleansing breathe, with a quick little quip about how her brother would protect her from a playground bully, showing his love in this way even if on a daily basis it is difficult to feel his love. My son and his friend got involved, thankfully, in this tale I was weaving and soon the six-year-old was giggling with glee as her brother continued to explain to her how he would give the playground bully the evil eye with several demonstrations. I smiled as I listened to them, happy that I had diverted the argument and the tears-glad for my one moment of good parenting.

I thought to myself how I far to often give myself a hard time about my parenting skills; frustrated at my lack of patience with my teen-age son, who seems to work really hard on aggravating me, even though or because of our former great relationship. I have read many parenting books, trying to find the magic ingredient to show me the way. I have read and listened to Anne Lamott (a fabulous author, who often writes about her son, Sam) for guidance.

Then one night J. and I were rereading Amy Krouse Rosenthal's Cookies; bite-sized life lessons when a thought hit me! This is my parenting book!! This truly hits all that I need to remember when parenting my children and if I can show them these qualities, using this common language I use every day as a teacher-librarian we may get somewhere together!

This will be particularly prudent as we head out on our major Summer Road-Trip to the DC area. I am going to make myself a cheat sheet with AKR's key words; you know, like "cooperation, polite, loyal, optimistic, and respect" so I can use them repeatedly as we drive for days together. I'm happy we have our Volvo instead of this...
which was the way my family road-tripped back in the day. (well, it was more of a green 70's version, really)

Watch this great video of Anne Lamott on Stephen Colbert.

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