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By Mac Bledsoe

As we said in our last article of our Newsletter, our "Parenting with Dignity" curriculum operates around one basic and simple principle, which is that the ideas in your head will rule your world. Therefore, we also believe the ideas in the heads of our children will rule their world. We believe that the single most powerful behavior-shaping tool at the disposal of parents is sending the constant and continual message of unconditional love. Once children are confirmed in the fact that they are loved and are thus significant beings in their own minds, THEN, they are capable of making big decisions for themselves.

Loved and respected children are much more capable of taking in important ideas to use in making decisions because those ideas are less threatening to a secure person! The idea that rules their world is, "I can make big decisions because I am a capable and important individual.

In our course we have listed, quantified, and explained ten ways to communicate love to children. All are important and can be used in a myriad of your family situations. In today's discussion we will focus on one method of effectively communicating love to your kids (or to anyone for that matter), and that is WRITING.


When parents love their children it is necessary to communicate that love openly and honestly. Our children will not simply know that they are loved by living in our homes and being in our presence. We must express it often and in a variety of ways. One of the most powerful ways to express love is through written words! Some magic things happen when we write. Writing is very unique and extremely powerful in shaping children's thought processes.

First, when we write to our children it is absolute and positive proof that they were on our minds and in our hearts when they were not physically present. If we write often, it is proof that they are often on our minds. It does not need to be explained to them either; they will be aware of it intuitively. Writing can't be denied. They may not even agree with what you have written but they can't deny that you wrote... it is tangible evidence of your love. The message does not have to be about love to communicate love!

Next, when you write to children you can be very careful and precise in what you say. I'm sure that every parent has regretted something said in haste, anger, or emotion. "I am going kill you!" (Oops!) But, once we have uttered the words we can't get them back. When we write, we can write, rewrite, and change the words until they accurately express our true thoughts and feelings... before they are heard and before they cause hurt. "I'm going to kill you," can become "I'm frustrated and angry about what you did with your milk, so let's see what we can do to prevent that from happening again." Writing allows clarity of thought that can also allow us to speak precisely as a follow up.

Next, when we write it allows our children to listen to us when they are ready. If we have learned anything in our years of working with students, it is that most of the time when we are ready to say something to a child it is not the time when they are ready or willing to listen. This seems to become the case, more often, as the child gets older, reaching its peak in the teen years. Also, the child's ability to listen and focus on what we are saying seems to be exponentially decreased, as the issue becomes more critical. All the more reason to write and write carefully. They can then read what we have written at a less emotionally charged time, thus increasing the chances of them actually hearing and using what we are trying to say or teach.

Next, when we write it says the same thing today, that it says tomorrow, that it says next week, that it says next year, that it says ten years from now. If you want some degree of immortality in the lives of your children, just write often to them. My Dad has been dead for 10 years but he still speaks to me because he wrote. My grandfather has been dead for 13 years and he too speaks forcefully and often to me because he wrote often to us grandkids.

Don't wait until crisis or misunderstanding to write, AND DON'T EVER BELIEVE THAT THE ONLY WAY TO SHOW LOVE IN WRITING IS BY WRITING ABOUT LOVE. One of the most loving things a parent can do for a child is to write down exactly what they believe about important issues such as spirituality, honesty, family, friendship and such. Grand Dad used to write little sayings like "Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent," or "Happiness is an attitude of choice; you're going to be about as happy as you choose to be." Often they were not even original (the first of those two I later found out was first written by Eleanor Roosevelt) but Granddad thought it was important for me to have it, so he wrote it down and gave it to me. Most of his little sayings have changed my life by becoming some of the critical ideas that have ruled my world.

He could not have done a more loving thing for me. One time before he came for a visit he had heard that I was going to a dance and this is what he wrote to me: "Kid, when you ask a girl to dance and she turns you down, don't get mad or hurt. Smile back at her and say 'thank you.' Then, as you are walking away say quietly to yourself 'thanks for helping me thin the herd! Thanks for not letting me waste another minute on someone who's not interested!' " Great advice and what a loving thing to give to a child who you love.

Finally, when you take the time to write to your kids it will come back to you many times over. Your kids will begin to write back to you. Be sure to model what to do with the writings by keeping yours in a safe and private place. Then your kids will do the same with what you have written to them. This insures the maximum chance of the ideas you share becoming some of the key ideas to rule their world.

Finally, one caution, be careful what you write because writing often has a permanent influence on children.



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