In 2007, I decided to invest in myself. But I did it with the intention of investing in others. At the time, my family and I were living in Wake Forest, North Carolina, about 17 miles north of Raleigh. It didn’t matter that I had to pay for the training out of my personal savings. My desire to help adults be better parents ran deep, so when I heard about the offered training, I didn’t hesitate to drive the 70 miles from Wake Forest to Greensboro to claim my seat at the table.
This training would give me the knowledge I needed to facilitate the organization’s evidence-based Active Parenting Now (for parents of children between the ages of 5 and 12) and Active Parenting of Teens (for parents with children between the ages of 12 and 19) workshops. As a Master’s level Social Worker with about 18 years of professional experience at the time, I had counseled adolescents whose parents did not know how to nurture them. The emotional detachment of their parents resulted in these adolescents being placed in state custody and transported to group homes or residential treatment centers. Ultimately, they learned how to be independent young adults under the tutelage of trained, human service professionals, not their biological parents.
In an age where so many children and youths are losing their motivation, it is imperative that we adults develop nurturing hearts. That doesn’t mean we go out of our way to be our children’s best friend; it just means we have to possess a better understanding for how our words affect their thoughts, feelings and behaviors. The words that we should be communicating to our children should be heartfelt and instructional. We should also operate as fallible beings who display integrity and decency during our interactions with them, and others.
I didn’t tell you this, but in 2007, the year I decided to become an Active Parenting leader, I was in the third year of my stint as a stay-at-home dad. Yes, I was giving my son baths and changing his soiled diapers while my wife was at work bringing home the bacon. And even though I initially balked at the fact that I no longer had a job that gave me a sense of purpose, I knew the time I was spending with my son would give him the impetus he needed to lead an independently fearless and empowered life.
It all begins with nurturing, the art of selflessly providing parental warmth.
“Going from BETTER2GREAT”
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