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Parenting for the Samurai

   I enjoy reading Hagakure, The Book of the Samurai… “the hidden leaves.” I was pleased to come across this passage in a reading:

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Three Simple Steps To Being A Good Parent

…or, How not to be a bad example for your children.

   As a parent, I make a lot of decisions throughout my day. Being a parent changes how you make decisions from the ground up. Where once it was okay to think of your own benefit first, it is no longer. A child is 100% dependent on you to both care for them and assist them in their development. Every decision you make, even the ones for yourself, have to include your child in your considerations. That can seem overwhelming, at first. Fear not, for there is an easy way to go about it. Here are three very simple questions to ask yourself before making your final decisions:

1. What will my child think of me down the line?
   Anyone with a teenager can attest to the power of grudges. Teens, in their rebellion, will often look for whatever they can use against their parents to get what they want. The teen years are a rough time of severe change in both their bodies and emotions. Doing one’s best to uphold a positive image in the eyes of one’s children is a big help in this arena.

2. What lessons will my decision teach to my child?
   Children are sponges and they learn far more by example then by spoken lesson. If you tell your child to conduct themselves one way and go against that in your own life, they will learn the latter. Your decisions and actions will be the real lessons they learn growing up. Before making your decision, ask yourself what your child will learn from it. If you wish to teach your child an ethic, moral or any other lesson, live by that lesson yourself.

3. How will this decision affect my child?
   Being the ultimate custodians of our children, our decisions and actions affect them directly. Before making a decision, we need to ask ourselves if the actions and outcome will either benefit, harm, or not effect our children. If the decision has no affect on your child, (ex. Should I eat turkey or ham on my sandwich for lunch?) then it is neutral and you can think only of yourself. If the outcome of your decision will harm your child in anyway, you should choose another route. If the outcome of your decision will benefit your child, you are doing the right thing. This is the most important of the three questions!

   With these three, very simple questions, you have a solid, effective means of decision-making in the way a responsible parent should. Remember: to put your wants over your child’s needs is pure selfishness. It is simply bad parenting to choose your own satisfaction over the happiness and prosperity of your child. With our society facing so many problems, we need the next generations to be as prepared as possible. This all begins at home. Good luck with your own responsible parenting.