I jumped into the deep end of the nurturing parent pool without any hesitation. From the first moment I learned about gentle birthing, extended nursing, co-sleeping, and positive communication, I knew I had found a new life’s path.
It was the late 1980s, and Dr. Sears had not yet written his book on Attachment Parenting. Yet, there was no lack of information to whet my very thirsty whistle. I read Mothering Magazine, read books by Jim Morningstar, and practiced pregnancy yoga – even before I was pregnant.
Our family’s journey through nurturing and sensitive parenting has been amazing and wonderful. Just like all families, we have had some incredible highs and suffered through some saddening lows. But always, we made it through with love, integrity, and togetherness.
The big message of the day is this … the new Attachment Parenting fad is a great start to some awesome parenting. Based on Attachment Theory, the science is valid. Unfortunately for many parents, a steady diet of nurturing and protecting children will not produce independent, self-sufficient, and effective adults.
I say this as a parent and grandparent. I say this as a Parent Educator and Special Education Teacher. I say this as a Clinical Mental Health Counselor. I worked long and hard to learn exactly what it does take to produce simply amazing human beings. I found answers in the midst of psychology, education, and neuroscience wisdom.
The human brain does thrive in a nurturing environment during the first year of life. As soon as a child begins to move around independently, however, the next phase of parenting must kick in.
This second phase requires parents to establish a clear family culture, set and maintain healthy rules and boundaries, and support children in beginning to master themselves within the world.
The story of two medals and one man? It is about my son who overcame a motorcycle accident that doctors thought stole his ability to walk without a cane or walker. He struggled through rehabilitation from the accident and the surgeries to correct the injuries.
This man never accepted the limitations imposed by others and eventually returned to his beloved martial arts. Continuing to push, he started to teach again. Then the time came when he had become so strong and resilient that he was able to compete.
Two medals in one day. I saw the scar from the motorcycle accident peeking out from the hem on his uniform as he competed for the second medal. It was a spiritual and awe inspiring moment.
That moment also punctuated for me all that had gone into raising a child who would become the man who stood on the podium – no walker or cane in sight – to receive his second medal of the day.
Is he a winner for taking the gold in the competition? Eh, maybe. There will always be winners and there will always be losers.
But to be a winner of life? Ah, that is what makes my son a gold medal winner!
He never took no for an answer and went on to create success where others only could see failure. No matter the pain. No matter the surgeries. No matter the medical limitations. He could only see success. He could only realize his dreams. Nothing less would ever do.
That man is my hero. That man is my child. And I did so much more than nurture him when he was young. I taught him about courage, wisdom, and humility. He was raised in a culture of respect, integrity, and unlimited potential.
And I want to share that story with others. Because every child deserves the best chance at a simply awesome life.
Happy Parenting! - Darleen Claire