Let me veer away briefly from all things Tomatis because I’d like to write about a talk I attended last Saturday about “Building Strong Families that Foster Good Character,” delivered by the esteemed psychologist and morals education guru Thomas Lickona, Ph.D. In a room filled with eager parents, he enumerated 11 principles on how we can educate and train our children (along with Mom and Dad) to live lives of virtue. The subject-matter was thought-provoking enough, but one topic that caught my attention was when he mentioned the importance of creating a Character-Centered Home versus an Entertainment-Centered Home.
In a Character-Centered home, children are taught wisdom, justice, fortitude, self-control, love, having a positive attitude, hard work, integrity, gratitude, and humility; which we can achieve if we practice the principles of good parenting.
In an Entertainment-Centered home, children are…well, entertained (with endless “fun” activities, parties, trips, toys, video games, electronic devices and television) and not taught much else about surviving the realities of the outside world. And when the time comes when there is nothing else to entertain them with, the children become: (1) bored and/or (2) unhappy; and end up mostly as selfish, indolent and irresponsible adults. Yikes!
As a run-of-the-mill, devoted (and frequently flustered) wife and working mother-of-three, I am very concerned whether I indulge my children too much with electronic devices that serve as surrogate parents. My husband and I have been guilty of using such practices in the past such as rewarding (or bribing?) our teen-age daughter with her own laptop; employing the Xbox to divert our pre-teen son while we have guests in the house; or appeasing our youngest boy with an iPad to prevent a breakdown in a restaurant. It is, unavoidably and literally, a part of our everyday lives. Add to this concern are the many studies one can just Google on the internet about the negative effects of using such things to excess–decreased attention span, poor social skills, and obesity!
However, in the end, Dr. Lickona did appease my feelings of inadequacy and said that parents are only human and can make mistakes. He quoted a wise bishop, “Our children don’t need to see a perfect role model, but only someone who is trying.” And that made me feel good.
As a run-of-the-mill, devoted (and frequently flustered) wife and working mother-of-three, all I want is for my children to grow up as moral adults. Sometimes, I will do it Dr. Lickona’s way; and at other times, I will do it my way. I pray that in the end, all of this will be worth it.
Are you a run-of-the-mill, devoted (and frequently flustered) spouse and working/stay-at-home parent-of-____? Do share your thoughts and insights about the wonderful world of parenthood.