Excerpt from Parking Lot Rules & 75 Other Ideas for Raising Amazing
Children by Tom Sturges
Parenting is a full-time, twenty-four-hour-a-day collection of duties, obligations, privileges, and promises. It is a series of steps we take every day to protect, defend, educate, nurture, sympathize with, mentor, feed, drive around, cheer for, and provide whatever else is needed for our children at any particular moment.
Our children, in turn, agree to let us do these many things for them. The relationship between us and our children is not equal, and not necessarily balanced, either.
Our first responsibility as parents is to get our children through each and every day of their lives healthy and happy and confident in the fairness of the world around them.
Here are some ideas to keep your children safe, healthy, respected, and cherished, every single day.
PARKING LOT RULES AND ADVICE FOR DADS
In a world inhabited by cars the size of small houses; the parking lot can be an incredibly dangerous place. Children are often distracted and unaware of the chaos going on around them – the dangers of getting from the car to the store and back.
The drivers of the SUVs rumbling by are likewise in another world: watching their own children, talking on their cell-phones, listening to the radio, organizing for their next stop, just as you are probably doing. Will they triple-check the rearview mirror as they back out? You hope so, but maybe not. The last thing they are looking for is your children’s safety.
Teach your children Parking Lot Rules, that they need to be right next to you always and whenever you are in a parking lot. There is to be no trailing behind. No racing ahead. No exceptions. Right next to you.
The moment you near a parking lot, either to or from the car, call out “Parking Lot Rules” and your children will know that they absolutely must be by your side. If they have toys in their hands, or Game Boys, or PSPs, or (if you’re lucky) a good kids story book, it gets put away that instant.
Nothing is more important than their walking next to you, holding your hand, and safely getting back and forth from the car.
This rule can apply in other situations as well. There will be times when you perceive a danger that your children have missed: perhaps raised voices or the sound of broken glass or a stranger acting erratically. If you call out to your children to watch out for the danger, you simply call more attention to yourself and the vulnerability of your situation.
Instead shout out “Parking Lot Rules.” Your children will know instantly and instinctively that they need to be by your side, that instant, no questions asked.
Excerpted from Parking Lot Rules & 75 Other Ideas for Raising Amazing Children by Tom Sturges Copyright © 2008 by Tom Sturges. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, a division of Random House, Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.