My dearest Shosh and Jaialai:
My thesis for the Honors Program in Psychology was entitled, Child Rearing Practices and Pro-Social Development. In other words, it was about how to raise good kids who care about others.
Recently, the media reported that Harvard psychologists conducted a study and their findings suggest seven ways to raise good kids. http://www.redbookmag.com/life/mom-kids/features/a37759/how-to-raise-good-kids/. Their prescription is brief and well stated.
- Schedule fun time. You are important. Thus, time with you is as important as, or more important than, the business activities or social events that dot our calendars. This is why I make sure we have time to regularly go to the zoo, the aquariums, the parks, the beach, etc.
- Be good role models. I have always endeavored to model honesty, fairness and empathy. I hope to continue modeling such behaviors in this venue.
- Prioritize caring for others. While we were together, I tried to teach you to share with others — offer toys, kind words, etc. As stated in an earlier post, I should have tried to include more in my philanthropic work. I thought we’d have time, but I was wrong.
- Encourage gratitude. You both have always been very good at saying “please” and “thank you”. I am proud of that. Keep it up.
- Expose you to matters beyond our immediate circle. We did some of this. For example, we discussed the evilness of greed and how a certain insurance company I worked for defrauded the sick and dying of millions of dollars … all while pretending to be a good and caring non-profit. We discussed my efforts to stop them internally, my blowing the whistle and getting government agencies involved, and the consequences to our lives. Keep lifting your eyes to the horizon. Look beyond your immediate circle and see your world, and the challenges that she faces.
- Get them involved. Remember how involved we were with our community? We knew our neighbors, and helped take care of each other. That is how it should be. As you get older, that “community” can get larger or smaller, depending on you and where you want to spend your energy. I have worked on international refugee matters that affected many nations and homeless matters that affect our local community. Stay involved. Don’t shut the world out and waste all your time and energies on playing video games, watching TV, etc.
- Deal with your emotions. Remember how I took you to child therapy for more than a year to help you deal with both the death of Grandma (who lived with us), and my divorce from your mom? That supplemented my efforts to be attentive to your feelings and emotional needs. Although your mother only met with the therapist twice during that entire period (whereas I met with her weekly after each of your session), it is my hope that you are getting help to deal with the challenges posed by our separation.
I tried to build a solid foundation for you so that you will grow up to be good, kind, and successful people. Please stay with what you know is right and good. Listen to your conscience. Goodness lies there. Don’t lie, cheat, and steal just because others do. The world has too many of the latter, and not enough of the former. Be the light of hope and kindness for others, and I promise you that you will find meaning and happiness in your own life.
All my love, always,