Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Chickens in the Bedroom!

     I am going to Portland today, about 120 miles from where I live, to pick up "my baby daughter"!  She is coming from Washington D.C. where she has just finished the Bar Exams!  "Oh, what bar does she work at?" a friend joked to me.  She should be a real lawyer now, women have come a long way.
    I remember the day she was born, about 26 years ago, my second of two baby girls, the loves of my life.
"Wow, how do you get to be a lawyer?" I am asked. " "How lucky you are!"  And luck has a lot to do with it, I admit that, but I have philosophies of education and ideas on raising children and I like to think in some small way that I helped, if in nothing else, then at least in opening doors and stretching the horizon.
   I am six feet tall and weigh about 200 pounds.  I am a big man and being in construction all of my life, I am pretty strong.  My baby daughter was about 17 inches tall and weighed about nine pounds.  I knew from the beginning that I could beat her up, that I had the power of submission.  I could spank her and yell at her, fill her with disappointments and defeat.  I never did that.  My daughters have never been spanked. I knew from the start that that only proves that I am bigger than they are, that I have power and they don't.
   One of the first things you learn as a school teacher is that you are a lot bigger than the kids.  It is not comfortable being eleven years old sitting in a little tiny chair and having a huge teacher hovering over you where the student has to strain their neck and look way up to meet your eyes.  The teacher should kneel, get eye level with the student and then, this really helps: talk to the student as if they were real human beings!
    It is amazing how that works.  Eye level.  Honesty. Real Human Beings. And, unless danger is involved,
not from a position of power.  An equal trading of words.   I listened to my daughters.  And I am a touchy, feely kind of guy.  When I wasn't kneeling by their side I was picking them up, holding them close, and, yes, just squeezing them!  When they would have issues or problems or concerns I would help them understand and itemize alternatives, this road, that road and the pluses and minuses to both, and potential consequences.
Very seldom and maybe never did I make a decision for them.
     They grew up in a house of routines.  Dinner was pretty much always at the same time. After dinner, after their baths, Jane would always read to them, always.  I grew up in a house full of books and so have my children.  Hundreds of books, bookshelves everywhere.  There is not a room in the house without books.
Our house didn't even have a television until they were over tens years old!  They were limited to two hours a week!  Bedtime was always a ritual too and always the same.  Eight o'clock.  I think this was mostly so Jane and I could have some quiet time, but always the kids were in bed by eight o'clock.  They were allowed to read themselves to sleep, so there wasn't a curfew there.  They just had to be in their rooms and quiet, reading or sleeping.
    Their rooms were theirs.  Their kingdoms, their private places.  We never, ever, entered without knocking
and given permission to enter.
     There is a lot more to this story!  Tomorrow I will tell you about my daughters raising chickens in their bedrooms!
My Other Blog is Here!


Barbra Joan said...

oh Jerry , I didn't comment on your last blog as you know I was busy. Today I have read both and what can I say.... It's exatly what I expect of you.. Honesty, common sense, and lots of love. Thats what you are..
I was a lucky girl to have my Dad and I think maybe (well maybe) yours are lucky to have you.. Maybe they would like to read my 'Christmas Letter."

rama said...

Congratulations to your daughter. It is a proud moment, and you have brought them up well. However please don't get diverted from the story you started out with about you and your wife, I am eagerly waiting to read the rest of your experience.
Have fun with your daughter.

Kay said...

Such a nice story and I hope you have a great time with your daughter. I have had chicks and catfish in my bedroom as a kid..can't wait to hear your story!

Clipped Wings said...

i never grew up with hugs and kisses when I was a child. I'm glad you raised your daughters the way you did. It makes them feel like anything is possible, and that is so extremely important. A child-size metal cabinet with doors on the bottom and shelves on the top part was a present one year. I would sneak sandwiches into my bedroom, and stored them in there, until one day mom had to carry it outside and hose the two million little ants off of it, hahaha!

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Chez said...

Congratulations to both you and your daughter StonePost.
I admire the wisdom you have shown in raising your daughters. Maybe it is time to write a book on the subject as many parents have no idea where to start.
Along with the routine, and other factors, the love shines through. A perfect combination.
Well done!

AutumnLeaves said...

You are a better parent than I Jer. I did spank not that I liked it for an instant. But routine was inherent with my girls too. Regular meals, 3 of them a day, help with homework, a regular bed time (8 when they were younger, 9 when they were older, 9:30 when they were older still but still a school night). We went to church regularly, they were involved in youth group, and books were a must too. The one good thing is that both are readers, neither do drugs at all and drink little and rarely. Some success I can claim. I wish I could have gotten the importance of an education into them though. I tried and tried and even went back to school and earned my degree to show them how important it is. Alas, one of them said to me the other day, "see how far it has gotten you, mom?" Oy. So Jer? Congrats on a job well done. You sound like you are sized like my Michael. LOL Wish he could have had kids of his own too. But he sure is an awesome stepdad and grandpa. The littles love him! Your wife just sounds like she is a true gem too! I would love to meet her!