My grandmother Mur was only educated to the third grade but she was one of the wisest people I ever knew. She raised eight children while carrying water from a stream to cook and do her daily laundry. She lost her husband when he was in his fifties and managed to survive and finish raising her brood on her own. Still, with all her misery, she sang tunes that you’ll only find in history books now while patting out the beat on her lap. Mur always had company, friends and family stopping by without calling ahead. She was poor all her life but she could literally take nothing and make a meal that satisfied and left you wanting more.
What does my grandmother do with parenting? It’s simple really, Mur would put everything that might be upsetting into terms of ten years. When the peach man sold her a basket of peaches with bad fruit hidden on the bottom she asked, “What difference will that dishonest man or those bruised peaches make in ten years? Not one little bit!” Instead of being upset or angry she went on about her day with a smile saying, “God punishes the worst.”
I borrowed Mur’s wisdom when my daughter received a bad test score or skipped tennis practice to visit a classmate. The score would be averaged out and she was a good student so in terms of ten years that was not a problem. As for skipping one day of tennis, what is one day of missed exercise?
It would be a different story if my daughter lost an arm or was hit by a car while visiting her friend. That would affect her (and me) for much more than ten years. In hindsight, it only grounded her for the following week. If she consistently brought home poor grades after studying and completing all the work it would have changed whether she went to college or not.
Thinking in terms of ten years takes all the pressure off and puts everything into proper perspective. It also trains you to look at many situations to see beyond the here and now. It is empowering!
When you need a shot of reality my grandmother and I will share this wonderful little tool for parenting and life called in terms of ten years. Each time you make use it, just dust it off and hang it up to use next time. It would be a shame to keep it secret so share it with others!
Do you need a reality check? Volunteers are standing by to take your call 24/7! 1-800-843-5437 or 1-800-THE-KIDS. It’s amazing how good you feel after venting or getting another perspective. The Parents Anonymous online group will be up and running today at 12 noon and there are new members to chat with. Give and get air-time, info and support. The group is anonymous and confidential; what you say is up to you.
Since there are folks receiving the Reminder outside New Jersey, the National Parent Helpline, operated by the national Parents Anonymous organization, will take your calls Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. PST (Pacific Standard Time). In New Jersey our time would be 1 p.m. to 10 p.m. Their number is 1-855-4A PARENT or 1-855-427-2736. All calls are confidential and anonymous here as well.
Jackie Ramirez has been with Parents Anonymous of New Jersey, Inc. for more than twenty years, giving and getting support. Jackie writes these ‘Reminders’ for parents who attend the online support groups. The groups are found at www.pa-of-nj.org every Wednesday 9 p.m. and Thursday 12 Noon. To receive the ‘Reminder’ send her an e-mail at: ParentRap@gmail.com.