If you don’t want a child to practice the 4 “R’s” of Resist, Resent, Refuse and Rebel: Here are the other 4 “R”s:
The caretakers of children (parents, foster parents, teachers, coaches, clergy, family, extended family, the village) actually work to mentor, model, teach and expect the above 4 R’s.
Most of us have our individual failings at times, but we continue to do our best to adhere to the values inherent in each of the “R’s.”
Respectful and Responsible are the two easiest concepts to understand and promote. We typically struggle with “Resourceful” and “Reciprocal.”
Too simply put, to be Resourceful is to think outside of that box. To LISTEN to others and that still, small voice that is whispering in our ear. Our moral compass is often tested. Our values and boundaries seem pushed and swayed. To be Resourceful, we have to look at the bigger picture, search our hearts and do the right thing for the greater cause, usually by tackling the problem from a less aggressive stance–by being inventive and if I may “wise.”
And then for Reciprocal. At first this is an easy concept. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” But life has a way of intervening and we begin to learn the lessons of “Do unto others as they have done unto you”–or even–“Do unto others BEFORE they can do unto you.”
So here’s the formula: first, we teach our children about respect for others, for self, for all living things, and for the intangibles–just about in that order. And then we begin to insist that our children demonstrate being responsible for the decisions they make, while beginning to gradually teach them about being resourceful in examining their choices before making those decisions. And in the final round, we help our children to put it all together so that they may be wise and tempered in their ultimate ability to be reciprocal in their humanity and caring for others.
If we are working diligently to provide each child, each classroom, each playground, each school, each greater community with the above tenets for being a fully functioning community member and world citizen, why do we have elected officials demonstrating a complete lack of all of the above? It is called statesmanship. It is called diplomacy. Perhaps our elected officials are telling us the reason why 37 cents of every tax dollar is spent on Pentagon and the Department of Defense, while only 2 cents of every tax dollar is spent on the State Department and diplomacy. (Remember that ability to think outside the box and use a less aggressive stance in the practice of being Resourceful?)
As the caretakers of our children, it seems totally reasonable to insist that our elected officials adhere to the above 4 R’s as the basic standards for doing the people’s business.
Be gentle while having expectation with our children: they are tomorrow’s leaders.
PS. The concept for the 4 “R’s” has received several credits. I believe that they actually were coined by Nancy Thomas, a foster mother who worked in association with the Institute for Attachment and Child Development in Evergreen, CO. While I believe in the 4 “R’s,” I definitely DO NOT agree with a lot of the interventions recommended by the Institute for Attachment and Child Development.
PPS. The tax dollar amounts are from FCNL (Friends Committee on National Legislation).