How Do You Give Priority To Your Children?


I maintain that from a parent’s perspective, when you children are doing well, you are doing well. That’s true regardless of their ages or yours.


How do you balance giving priority to your children and at the same time attend to a myriad of other details and interests that vie for your attention?


  • For that matter, how do you assist your children in knowing how to prioritize their lives?
  • How do you teach values for your children?
  • How do you help children establish boundaries?


Dr. Bruce Perry is a prominent psychiatrist and world-renowned expert in dealing with children from hard places.  Over the past twenty years, I’ve attended many conferences where he has been the keynote speaker. On Living Smart with Patricia Gras, a televised educational venue, Dr. Perry was asked, “How can we build healthier environments for kids?”


He responded, “ The smartest thing you can do in knowing how to get your children to change is to look at how you live.  If you can’t regulate the number of hours you watch television or if you can’t regulate the number of hours you are on your Blackberry, or if you can’t regulate how you manage your time it, it is unrealistic to think children are going to be able to do that as well.”


“In other words, the parent has responsibility to role model for his/her children the value system and the priorities that best promote a child’s best interest. The old adage of, ‘Do as I say, not as I do,’ isn’t nearly as impactful as role-modeling the same values and behavior you anticipate or expect to be demonstrated. The way we best teach children where to walk is to ask them to pattern behavior to follow our walk”.


“Parents also generally attempt to shield their children from disappointments and difficulties. We intuitively think we are doing our children a favor by placing them in the ‘protective bubble’ of our care and influence where only success awaits.


“Yet, what better venue in which to negotiate the ‘ups and downs’ inherent in life than in the nurturing and supportive care of a parent?  Learning to manage disappointment during childhood under the watchful eye of a nurturing parent is an easier experience than the learning process in adulthood.



It was Solomon who wrote: “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it”.



Paul Harvey is credited for a commentary entitled “Wisdom for Kids”.  According to Google, Harvey did read the narrative as part of his radio commentary on September 6, 1997, but it was written by Lee Pitts and entitled, “These Things I wish:”


“We tried so hard to make things better for our kids that we made them worse. For my grandchildren, I’d like better. 


I’d really like for you to know about hand me down clothes and homemade ice cream and leftover meat loaf sandwiches. I really would. 


I hope you learn humility by being humiliated, and that you learn honesty by being cheated. 


I hope you learn to make your own bed and mow the lawn and wash the car. 


And I really hope nobody gives you a brand new car when you are sixteen. 


It will be good if at least one time you can see puppies born and your old dog put to sleep. 


I hope you get a black eye fighting for something you believe in. 


I hope you have to share a bedroom with your younger brother/sister. And it’s all right if you have to draw a line down the middle of the room, but when he wants to crawl under the covers with you because he’s scared, I hope you let him. 


I hope you go to Sunday School and church to help you find God and Godly friends.


When you want to see a movie and your little brother/sister wants to tag along, I hope you’ll let him/her. 


I hope you have to walk uphill to school with your friends and that you live in a town where you can do it safely. 


On rainy day when you have to catch a ride, I hope you don’t ask your driver to drop you two blocks away so you won’t be seen riding with someone as uncool as your Mom. 


If you want a slingshot, I hope your Dad teaches you how to make one instead of buying one. 


I hope you learn to dig in the dirt and read books. 


When you learn to use computers, I hope you also learn to add and subtract in your head. 


I hope you get teased by your friends when you have your first crush on a boy\girl, and when you talk back to your mother that you learn what ivory soap tastes like. 


May you skin your knee climbing a mountain, burn your hand on a stove and stick your tongue on a frozen flagpole. 


I don’t care if you try a beer once, but I hope you don’t like it. And if a friend offers you dope or a joint, I hope you realize he is not your friend. 


I sure hope you make time to sit on a porch with your Grandma/Grandpa and go fishing with your Uncle. 


May you feel sorrow at a funeral and joy during the holidays. 


I hope your mother punishes you when you throw a baseball through your neighbor’s window and that she hugs you and kisses you at Hannukah/Christmas time when you give her a plaster mold of your hand. 


These things I wish for you – tough times and disappointment, hard work and happiness. To me, it’s the only way to appreciate life.”


Regardless of the author, the curriculum has valuable lessons related to life.


All My Best!



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