I'm reading the book, "Liberated Parents, Liberated Children" by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish. I just read this section and was so moved, I wanted to share it with you.
It is a scene where parents are attending a parenting study group with teacher, Dr. Haim Ginott. He poses the question, (the rest of this post is quoted directly from the book):
"What is our major goal as parents?"
Someone ventured, "To improve parent-child relationships."
Another said, "To find better ays of communicating with our children."
**** another woman glibly said, "To produce children who are, among other things, brilliant, polite, charming, neat and well-adjusted, of course."
Dr. Ginott looked solemn. It was obvious that this last comment had not amused him. He leaned forward and said, "This is how I see it. I seems to me that our large goal is to find the ways to help our children become humane and strong.
For what does it profit us if we have a neat, polite, charming youngster who could watch people suffer and not be moved to take action?
What have we accomplished if we have reared a child who is brilliant -- at the top of his class -- but who uses his intellect to manipulate others?
And do we really want children so well-adjusted that they adjust to an unjust situation? the Germans adjusted only too well to the orders of the Nazis to exterminate millions of their fellow men.
Understand me: I'm not opposed to achild being polite or neat or learned. The crucial question for me is: What methods have been used to accomplish these ends? If the methods used are insults, attacks, and threats, then we can be very sure that we have also taught this child to insult, to attack, to threaten, and to comply when threatened.
If, on the other hand, we use methods that are humane, then we've taught something much more important than a series of isolated virtues. We've shown the child how to be a person -- a mensch, a human being who can conduct his life with strength and dignity."