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To all that who survived the 1970's- 80's it is prudent to look at the changes in our children/grandchildren's lives. We were put to sleep on our tummies in baby cribs covered with bright covered lead-based paint covers and we survived.

Our parents played their rock and role music without the benefit of white sound machines to block out the beat. Everyone wore their shoes in the house because we didn't have a for sale sign where prospective buyers, visitors were asked to take off their shoes so they would not dirty the floors or wake the children. Our children learned to cope which sure helped them when they went away to a university residence.

Our pediatrician, reminded us that our children came to live in our home and they would have to learn to adapt to the new environment. If in doubt we relied on Dr Spock's book on the do's and don'ts of child rearing

No feeding on demand, we quickly had our children on our schedule that we could live with. Plenty of spaghetti and peanut butter and jam sandwiches were the mainstay of our children's diets. Not only did they survive they thrived on the food they were very healthy and grew like weeds around the Mill Pond.

We tried to give them vitamins but found to our surprise that our daughter, Sarah, would spit them out after breakfast behind the chesterfield in the living room.

I learned from my father that when I fell down that he would tell me to "come-on-over to him and he would pick me up ." No need for fake bandages or ice packs to try and heal the non existent injuries. If you could walk over to him you were not hurt and you did not need any help.

When my children did not want to go to River Heights in the morning because they complained that they were sick they had to pass my thermometer test. If the reading was normal they went to school. One morning Sarah disappeared for a few moments into the bathroom and placed the thermometer in the hot water. With a reading of 110 we advised her that we were obliged to call 911 to cope with the emergency: darn it she had to admit to trying to hustle us once again.

Each term we were invited to attend parent's night to find out how are children were doing. My children had to come along with us to meet and greet the teachers to hear their feedback. It was their evaluation not ours: if the comments were positive then our children could glow with the praise but if there was room for improvement our children were made aware of the problems and how to correct them.

I worry a lot what many parents to-day are doing to their children. Too many are over indulged by their folks who believe that they are acting in the best interest of their children. The folks, usually mothers, unselfishly spend lots of time driving their kids back and forth to soccer practice, dance classes, gymnastics, swimming skiing horseback riding, math tutoring, music lessons to make sure that they are not deprived of the perks that their parents never had.

Perhaps over programming our children takes away their initiate to develop a positive self esteem and a need to succeed on their own merits?

By sheltering our children from the problems that arise in life we have denied this generation of the ability to develop the process and priorities they need to succeed.

The greatest gifts I received from my parents stemmed not from what they did for me-but rather what they didn't do for me. A positive self concept comes from achieving something important when it's hard to do.

Learning to be able to deal with failure and learn new coping skills is integral to a person`s positive development. I learned early in life to cope with failure when I failed grade one after missing school because I cut off a good part of my tongue. Many parents make the mistake of trying to shield their children from reality of making hard decisions that they need to succeed in the future.

For the first time we have unemployed young people (mostly males) in their twenties who are unemployed and trying to find themselves. Sadly, a whole generation has reached adulthood without the capabilities that translates into what is needed to succeed and be gainfully employed. Our children have to learn to be self sufficient without the need to have mom and dad acting as umbilical cords when they reach the age of majority.

Len Lesser


Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com