Parenting Philosophy. What’s yours? Ours is… well, until now, ours has been elusive. Or perhaps our philosophy hasn’t been, but we’ve lacked the ability to describe it. In going through the process of placing Sophia into a pre-school, we’ve had to [fairly recently] develop a cogent description of how we approach parenting.
There are many, many parenting philosophies out there and you can read all about them before you become a parent thinking that you will be this type of a parent or that type of a parent. The truth of the matter is that you will not know what kind of a parent you will be until you have your child(ren) and they shape you as a parent much like you shape them as people. And so, after several lengthy conversations we have identified that our style is best described as a modified version of Slow Parenting. And while we do not adhere to the lack of television access, we do let our kids play with simple toys like blocks and craft because while the materials are elemental, the possibilities are limitless. We are focused on teaching the girls commitment and expect them to follow through if they’ve promised or agreed to something. “I can’t” is not an expression that is acceptable at our house because it is so final and instead, the girls can ask for help or say that this is something they “don’t know” how to do “just yet“. To some, this may be just a matter of words, but if you really think about it, these words imply very different things. “I can’t” implies finality that the fate of this task is sealed and it is beyond one’s reach while not knowing how to do something implies an opportunity to learn. Learning, extending, trying something new, and even failing, no, especially failing are critical. This outlook stems from the fact that we treat the girls as adults. Everything, and I do mean, e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g is explained at all ages. When Eliza refuses to put on a jacket, we patiently explain that it is cold outside and a jacket will make her warm. When Sophia gets upset that Eliza has once again destroyed a castle she diligently built with her blocks, we explain that Eliza is little and she is discovering the world. We also say that part of discovery is the process of taking something apart to learn what it is really made of and that she (Sophia) used to smash castles we built for her, too.
Lastly, Evan and I make a concerted effort to engender empathy in the girls both toward each other, toward us, our family, and others in general. Empathy goes hand in hand with love and there is no stronger bond than that between siblings and families. So here it is, our brief, and still very incomplete parenting philosophy. The beignets? These are homemade zeppole with apples because it is fall and because fried dough is the perfect place to sneak a bit more fruit.
The weekend was eventful—a trip to the zoo, a technical conference, a date-night, a dance class, and …. the zeppole. There was also 40 garlic clove chicken, homemade chicken soup, baked Japanese yam fries, and quality time with grandparents.