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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Soapbox: My Golden Rule

All this month I have been doing family rules each parenting tip day [Thursdays]. I've done rules for going out, rules about tattling, about privacy, but what about the over-all theme of your home?  Does it address honesty? respect? what? What is the base line for your home?

From when I was a small child I was taught the golden rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."  I got that it meant to treat others nicely because you want to be treated nicely. I got that. But when I became a foster parent I sadly learned that there is a step before nice, before love, before anything. A step that most children take for granted and are given automatically, but that others can barely dream of having..... safety.

From my early days of foster parenting I developed my own golden rule that focused on what my baseline was.  My rule was two words.... Safe and Loved.  Everyone in thehouse was to be safe and loved. [I figured that in a way those two words encompassed everything else.  It doesn't directly ention honesty... but....You don't lie to someone you love, you want someone you love to be proud of you, so you hold yourself to a high moral standard in actions and words. etc. etc. Sneaky, but those two words kind of cover a whoooole lot.

Since then I have expanded it a bit because I found that there is something beyond safety, beyond love. I saw that many of the foster children I know seem stuck, even when safe, even when loved. Stuck in their past, stuck in their view of themselves, stuck in their visioning and ability to see a positive future.
Their eyes often lack the sparkle so common in the eyes of their peers. Instead a sadness, an tiredness, even a remaining fearfulness, is often seen.  Everyone deserves to know what it is like to be excited, eager, ...happy. So I added a piece. My parenting goal became: Every child deserves to be safe, to be loved, and to know joy. As a family we wanted that to apply not just to the children in the house, but to the adults, to the pets, and to our guests.

So, our family golden goal is:
May everyone who enters this home feel safe, feel loved and experience joy.

I'm sure it will continue to change and shift. What about your family.  What is your personal family golden rule?  Share?

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