This I Believe

Frances - Missoula, Montana
Entered on February 17, 2008
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: children
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This I believe…

I believe that whatever you do for a child or children is the most important thing you will do in your life. What we do for children will have far reaching effects into a future that we will never know. I believe that the most important “teachers” in a child’s life are the parents, and raising their children is the most significant job a parent will have. My parents took their role seriously. They not only raised their 7 children, but had a dozen foster children over the years. They modeled for us this important belief that children matter. They were always there for us and we knew that we were valuable human beings.

I believe that children learn best from what is modeled for them. It is difficult, but not impossible to teach good parenting to someone for whom bad parenting was modeled. I have known individuals who had wonderful caring parents, but for some reason they chose to selfishly live their lives for themselves and their children suffered for it. I have known others who came from abusive negligent backgrounds who rose above that and were loving, caring parents. Therefore, modeling isn’t everything but if good role models are there, I believe that the likelihood of raising good parents is greater.

I believe that you don’t have to be a parent to have a huge impact on a child’s life. I had some excellent teachers who influenced my life in many ways. They believed in me and saw my abilities when I didn’t see them myself. I didn’t see myself as being academic beyond the average level, but a high school history teacher nominated me for the Honor Society, which shocked me. He saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself at that time. I went on to college and graduate school with three separate degrees before I finished.

I believe that we influence children in ways that we don’t even realize. My husband had a brother who was born with profound disabilities. He saw his parents travel to doctors and hospitals around the country to try to get help for his brother. He saw his parents make sure the children at home were cared for when they did this. When it was apparent that there was no help for his brother, recommendations from the medical profession were that he be sent to an institution. Nonetheless, they kept his brother at home and took care of him themselves until he died at age five. My husband has spent over thirty-five years in various positions either providing direct care to persons with disabilities or in consultation and research with agencies providing these services. His parents did not know that they were modeling these values, but they were.

I believe that children are the hope for the future. Anything that we can do to bring stability, love and nurturing into the life of a child is something well worth doing. This is what I believe.