Sunday, February 1, 2009

Of Mules and Men: the Integrative Training Method

I just got back from a funeral in my small hometown, Mona. It was a joyful occasion, a time to renew acquaintance and celebrate a well-lived life. Mona lost one of its venerable old patriarchs. The anguish of loss is sweet when there are no regrets, and Maurice drove a swather through life that cut a windrow of good in the lives of his neighbors. I haven't lived in Mona for 22 years, 11 months, and 25 days, but Maurice Kay and his family are part of my circle of life. Their mark is difficult to measure. Maurice raised an honorable family on his farm in Mona. He educated his kids with an Integrative ethic, where they learned by being part of their parent's livelihood. The resulting product is a posterity of men and women with backbone and vitality, who conduct life with dignity. I salute you, Kay Family. The world needs more of your kind.

I have watched an interesting shift in our culture and our child-raising ethics come roaring into life over the past 30 years. It seems like today, we build a Disneyland world for our kids, quite insulated from our own adult world, and use it to carefully coddle their upbringing--fearing that we might make them uncomfortable or that they may offend our adult activities if they venture out of their bubble.

Growing up in Mona instilled that Integrative Child Raising Method in my genes. Chantra and I instinctively started bringing our kids into our adult lives as soon as they were born. We included them in all of our activities and adventures. Rarely do I recall creating kid activities that were designed just for their sole entertainment. They have seen my business dealings, attended Rotary and other grown up community functions with me, and have been fully included in all of our explorations. They don't even get to cry their way out of church meetings. I don't know how much of it is in their genes, or how much of it is this inclusive parenting style, but to know my kids is to be impressed by their bearing.

I enjoy raising my mules using the Integrative Method. I take my babies almost every where I go and try to expose them to as many positive external experiences as I can. Mules are a fabulous conveyance for exploring the world and I want them confident when its time to start riding them. Using the Integrative Method, my kids are great Mule-training aids. Using the Integrative Method, my mules are great Kid-training aids. Of Mules and Men: its all about being a Dad. Papa Gooch, thanks for your example. Son? Follow my trail.
Senator at 1 year old


5-year-old Preston


3 comments:

OUR CHAOTIC CLAN said...

Paul! That was an excellent post! I couldn't agree with you more! That's one of my many regrets in my parenting skills (or lack of) is NOT including my kids more in our adult activities. We do now, but my older kids missed out on a lot. I feel bad. Oh well, live and learn right???
Good job on raising your cute family! I've said it before, but they're sooooooo lucky to have such a great Dad. Keep it up! :D

Iditadad said...

Paul's children (our grandchildren) are some of the best behaved of any I know. We love you. WoW

cory and sharon said...

Keep it up. You do have great kids to be very proud of. You can also be very proud of the way you've raised your mules. :)