1. Use every opportunity you can to teach your kids. Ol’ FGLG was always teaching that little chick something. Life is full of teachable moments if you slow down enough to make a lesson from them.
2. Your life should not be a lesson in what not to do. FGLG was constantly picking the wrong thing, and little chick was always saving him. (If I remember, it involved saving him from getting eaten by the bulldog but as I said, plot lines are vague) One of the rules of dysfunctional families is: do as I say, not as I do. When instruction and behavior are consistent, kids grow up healthy. When you tell them one thing, but do another, kids grow up confused and insecure. Being a good parent involves making the right choice for yourself.
3. Let your kids learn in the way that is comfortable to them. FGLG’s only memorable quote was “I say, I say look at me son, when I’m talking to you.” I think our instinct as parents is to demand respect. And respect is good, of course. But did you know boys can actually receive instruction/correction better if they are allowed to not keep eye contact? (Great book called Love and Respect explains this.) Teenage boys in particular, can have a much more open conversation if you let them be busy with some task while you are talking. My middle guy and I had a “feelings” conversation last week, which he detests, but it went pretty well because he rode his scooter in a million circles around the ping pong table in the garage while we talked. A little distracting to me, but it helped he tremendously to relax and open up.
4. Protect your kids from danger, but let them make mistakes. Again, if my memory is accurate, a big part of the plot with FGLG involved getting around the bulldog who was typically sleeping but ready to pounce upon awakening. There are a lot of real dangers in this world, both physical and spiritual. Be a wise parent. Much of what comes against our kids comes through technology. Stalk your kid’s facebook page, look at their cell phones, don’t let them keep you out of their business. In our house, the rules are annoying to my kids, but non-negotiable with us: cell phones go on chargers in the kitchen every night; we have passwords to everything or you can’t have it (facebook, email, lap top); we can look at history on anything at any time (and we do randomly) and we meet/talk to parents where my kids want to spend the night. We are not, however, the sin police. I know none of these rules can keep my kids from messing up. But they will keep them from getting trapped in something before they know it.
5. Spend time with your kids. Involve them in your projects and plans. Help them be part of your life. If you start this when they are young, it will always seem normal. If you’ve never really built a relationship with your child, they will be resistant to this at times. But do it anyway. They need you to actively pursue them! Show them how important they are. Ask their opinion. Listen to the answer. Share your struggles and successes. And just hang out a lot around them.
All right, I know some of it was a stretch, but it is after all parenting lessons via a looney tunes cartoon character I barely remember. (Insert music here.) And that’s all folks!