Raising babies with trust and respect can be scary. As “right” as Magda Gerber’s approach always felt to me, I had moments of doubt in the beginning. Is it really enough to let babies and toddlers develop skills naturally and independently without our nudging? Is it truly okay for young children to self-direct their play and learning, and then continue to choose their extra-curricular activities as they grow? Can they really be trusted to know themselves and their needs better than parents do?
I see the positive effects of Magda’s recommendations in my children every day, but it was especially gratifying for my husband and me to get this surprise seal of approval from our college freshman…
I’m just writing to tell you both that I love you! Today in my ‘Constructing Childhood’ rhetoric class we were discussing parenting, in response to reading a segment of Amy Chua’s book about Chinese mothers – maybe you’ve heard of it… Anyway, while listening to various anecdotes from my classmates, I couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that I clearly had the most wonderful parents out of the 15 of us in the class. I guess I was just a bit surprised that considering we’ve all made it to (the topnotch university she attends), no one else’s parents seemed to have raised them nearly as carefully as you have raised, and continue to raise me.
So, of course when it was my turn to talk I bragged about you a little. I said that although I would never consider my parents permissive in any sense, my hobbies and pursuits were always left up to me. And even though the rest of the kids in my class were either forced to play a sport or instrument when they were younger, or wish they had been forced to so that they could be really good at it by now, I couldn’t relate. Regardless of whether or not I maybe could have been more talented had I been made to hone a particular skill as a child, I am the happiest because of the respect that I have for my parents, the sure sense of independence they gave me, the trust we have in one another, and the loving friendship that has become of our relationship.
I’m motivated almost entirely intrinsically because I was never taught that I needed to get straight A’s to please my parents. And at the same time, I do know that they care for me deeply, and conversely I love them to death.
This is nothing I didn’t already know, but it was just a nice moment of clarity that I had in class. I love you Mommy and Daddy and please never forget that all that I am I owe to you. You are, quite honestly, the best parents in the world.
Never ever doubt it.
Miss you guys! See you soon mum!
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