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The Most Important Contribution
We Can Make
—by Helen Collier

Parenting has always been a challenge, but today perhaps more than ever before. We have to deal with many influences that affect our children that may or may not have been around when we were growing up. And certainly, things have been getting worse. Divorce, drugs, crime, school dropouts, single parenthood and teen pregnancy are just a few of the issues many parents must confront in their daily lives. It's no wonder so many of us feel overwhelmed. And aside from coping with the negatives, we have a very important responsibility in preparing our children for the future.

The most important contribution we can make for our children is the gift of self-esteem. Self-esteem underlies all achievement and personal effectiveness, it increases will power and helps a child develop his or her potential. In fact, self-esteem is the single, most significant key to successful living.

The way parents feel about themselves will be reflected in their children and every aspect of family life. It is important for parents to have a positive self-identity to instill self-confidence in their children, fostering in them a deep inner knowing that they are capable of accomplishing whatever they set their minds to.

Parents who want to improve their own self-image can promise themselves to act in ways that will make them feel more worthy of happiness and success. Studying or taking classes in parenting to develop competence is helpful. Our self-esteem rises as we begin to feel more competent. If we choose a seemingly easier path and avoid mental exertion, we set ourselves up for failure because as any parent can attest, parenting isn't easy.

How often have we noticed how our way of thinking can make or break our parenting skills? Accurate thinking requires an openness to learning and a willingness to self-observe. To think or not to think, to focus the mind or suspend it, are two basic choices we must face every moment of our lives.

It helps to ask ourselves the following questions when confronted with situations:

1. Am I being constructive or destructive?
2. Am I making sense?
3. Am I being fair
4. Am I being consistent?

As parents, the choices we make daily have a big influence on our children, and can either enhance or undermine their character development. I find that parenting demands daily rededication of heart and mind to helping children develop in positive ways. And there is no getting around the necessity of choosing, moment by moment, to act in ways that will increase our own self-esteem.

Helen Collier is a mother of four, a former model, actress, casting director, and corporate vice president. She has taught success classes to over 15,000 students in New York City and has taken her courses internationally to Canada, Norway and Russia. Helen is currently touring the United States with her Success Courses which include a parent-child seminar and classes for women.

Teach Values: Uses accelerated learning methods and storytelling. Recommended lists of children's books and videos.


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