Children Are Not Corn … May 26, 2012

 

English: A display of six ears of field corn w...

English: A display of six ears of field corn with dented yellow kernels (Zea mays var. indentata) which won ribbons for “best of show” at the Steele County Fair in Owatonna, Minnesota (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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No, children are not corn. Good soil, seed, water, sunshine and care do not guarantee a plentiful harvest. Unlike corn they rarely take “stalk” of themselves and certainly are not “all ears.”

 Good corn  comes from good seed. But bad kids can come from good parents. We all know this, right? You can read books, study habits or even develop a life of piety–it will not ensure the results you desire.

I thought about this last night because my son and daughter-in-law are about to have a baby.They are excited. They will get over this and when they do, what will they need to know about fostering the growth of another human being instead of thinking that they are merely raising corn? Here is  short list I put together based on my experience with raising six sons:

1. Instruct following a failure. Don’t critique mediocre effort, but do use the moment to enhance results.

2. Encourage progress. Spend twice as much time exhorting brilliance as you spend fussing about “dimness.”

3. Praise success. Yes, celebrate. Don’t assume the benefits of the experience are sufficient without your words of acknowledgment.

4. And finally, in their presence, always believe the best. In their absence, always prepare for the worst. There is no benefit in being an optimistic parent. The only thing that will make you useless to your child is if their behavior surprises you, producing shock, which greatly resembles disappointment. And disappointment is poison to the spirit of a young human. Always have a contingency plan for what you will do if your children end up being … crazy.

So to my fine son and his wife, let me say that being the adult means standing firm in your support but being wise enough to never be  caught off guard, which can lead to accidentally becoming abusive because you were not rehearsed for any possibility.

Children aren’t  corn. You can’t butter them up and they don’t always en up lining up with all their little, golden nuggets in perfect rows.They are unpredictable. So make sure you have taken the time to predict what they’re able to do. 

  

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

Mango-ology — September 14, 2011

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I basically refuse to buy one if they’re over a dollar.  I think I have purchased a particularly large specimen at $1.25.  But when they get down to eighty-eight cents or so I like to pick myself up a mango

Tricky business, though.  Because in the case of an orange, you can be pretty confident of a good product–if it’s orange.  And bananas are pretty obvious, too, with their skin color.  (Please don’t call me a bigot…)

Mangos are fussy.  Usually when you see them in the grocery store, they’re rock hard and not good for much of anything but practice at a softball tournament.  No–you have to have the wisdom of Solomon and the patience of Job.  You have to be willing to buy one of these little fellers, take him or her home, set it on the shelf and let it quietly do its maturing without your scrutiny.  Because if you come over and cut into it too soon, you’re gonna have a sour, hard mess.  If you get a bit over-anxious and go around squeezing it, you can bruise it, which will put brown spots on your otherwise delightfully golden and delicious treat.

It is a spiritual experience, to take custody of a mango.  Actually, about the time you forget you have one, you look over there and say, “Oh, my goodness, that thing must be rotten by now.”  But no–it’s just ready to be peeled and eaten.  You are rewarded for your patience and blessed by your forgetfulness.

You know, people are a lot like fruit.  (Please don’t read into that statement…) Some solid individuals are just downright “good apples”–it’s hard to lose, trustworthy and ready for you to take a good bite out of–even a second bite.  There are those folks, of course, who are sour grapes.  They don’t warn you of the bitterness and nastiness of their taste by the outer appearance, and you do rather regret partaking of them. 

But lots of people–especially younger humans–are like mangos.  You just have to buy into one and commit to it, keep your hands off of it a little bit, and let it sit on the shelf and soften up by natural processes.  If you don’t, you’ll expect too much too soon or you’ll handle it too roughly and end up leaving behind a few sore spots of your own making. 

It took me a while to learn this.  I’m not so sure I didn’t do a little damage as a human being, or even as a parent, in the process.  To all my fruity brethren and children, I apologize.

Because mango-ology involves understanding that some of God’s creations just need more time to get to a point so that they’re palatable.  You worrying about them, fussing over them, handling them or staring at them will not improve the situation.  Find a nice shelf where the sunshine can hit them just right and let them mature on their own. After all, you’re not a mango.  And if you are a mango, chances are you can’t sweeten one of your friends anyway. That takes time,  God and nature.

So for future consideration, when you run across some human being who just doesn’t ever seem to ripen up, have the wisdom to use mango-ology: give’em a perch and let’em learn on their own, so the next time you visit them, it will be a sweet and tasty reunion.

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