We raise or elevate, it's all the same thing, our children on a daily basis. Raising children is an adventure whereby our goal might be to elevate the child to a higher position of awareness or intelligence. We might consider how we could modify our approach to parenting and turn this opportunity into a more meaningful occasion for our children, sort of like being a Renaissance parent.
We have our children, born into the family. What happens next with these children? We raise them. But, perhaps we should reconsider just what "raise" them can mean. What are the possibilities for these children? Just how is a parenting career really the beginning of a new organization? How can we, as Renaissance parents, begin anew with our children? We must look at what we are doing and then consider what we might be able to add to our parenting process.
We know well that children can learn. We also know that the sooner an element is introduced into a child's life, the sooner she becomes familiar with it and learns about it. For example, she learns to communicate by crying and/or speaking. Children perform a lot of what is called "under the radar" work as they grow. The key is to simply talk-talk-talk, explain-explain-explain, and read-read-read to your child while introducing these elements to them, day in and day out. As children are known to "soak up everything," you can begin implementing any learning process with a child as early as possible. The sooner you begin, as in infancy, the earlier the child will learn it. Children absorb everything they are attentive towards. Take them to the zoo again and again, and soon they learn about the animals. Take them to the art museum again and again, and soon they learn about art. Take them to the beach, the library, music shows at the Fox, parades, and to church. Include them in cooking, cleaning projects, planning for trips, taking the trip, taking pictures on the trip, and reminiscing about the trip afterwards.
What is really going on when children are exposed to certain things such as the zoo, art, music, cooking, theatre, and books, is they begin to learn. And, this is occurring right from the very beginning. The babies are working on what you are exposing them to. Even though it may look as if the infant is merely existing, waiting for feeding time, she is probably working on making sense of what she is hearing, seeing, and smelling. The sooner you begin talking with her about what she is seeing, hearing, and smelling, the sooner your child begins to learn. When a mother picks up her child, she says the word "up." When she puts her down, the mother says "down." In fact, the child's mother incorporates words into whatever she is doing with her child. Wherever parents are with their children, they are doing creative storytelling, and the children have as much positive input as the adults. Vocabulary, imagination, encouragement, creativity, and relationships are all occurring at the same time. The parents saturate their children with information, and the children soak up the information like sponges.
The idea is to promote wonder and learning to your child. To start this process, you might first reduce your child's exposure to television. Television promotes isolation, aggressive behavior, and the adoption of the poor moral values being displayed by the "funny" characters on the television, and does absolutely nothing for your child. Learning can include your own parenting mistakes. You might learn to have a dialogue with your growing child: You know, the way I acted earlier was wrong. It hurt someone's feelings, and I should/will do better. I remember my father yelling at me, and I did not like it either. I will stop, and it is something you certainly do not have to copy. Informing your child of the power of the imprinting process may allow her to recognize that behaviors are not set in stone and change is possible.
You are a better teacher than some "children's'" programs on television written by 37-year-olds who think like seven-year-olds. This is your child, YOU can raise her! You can do everything for your child. Build, read, cook, play, walk, travel, and read again with your children. Take them for walks, make ice cream, go camping, talk about how trees breathe and drink, how bees transmit pollen, how far away stars are in space. Make play dough and do finger painting with chocolate pudding, because spending time with your child is to love your child. As you love her, she feels treasured. As you teach her, she learns, because she believes in herself because you believe in her. Exposing her to the world through activities improves her intellect and curiosity about the world. Renaissance parenting is a new beginning for you and your child.