86th Birthday Mom’s Child raising Advice Still Spot On

Even though I have lived abroad for nearly 4 decades, due to covid making travel from Europe impossible, I couldn’t be with my mom at the family cabin to celebrate her birthday for the first time ever.

Fortunately, last Christmas before we heard of social distancing and couldn’t begin to imagine a pandemic separating us from loved ones, my daughter gave her gift called, Storyworth, a computer program to record photographs and memories. My mom, Lenore, is having fun recapturing wonderful memories, recording history of days gone by and creating a priceless treasure for generations to come. Every week, Storyworth sends a question to trigger her memories and she writes her answer and sends it back to them to be published into a book. https://welcome.storyworth.com/

With the covid epidemic and no timeline for when we will be able see loved ones again, discovering family history, recording historical events and reconnecting with long distance relatives reminds us we need our stories more than ever to suture those connections between generations .

Lenore was only 19 years old and just graduating with her elementary education degree, when she began raising a family, 4 children within a span of 6 years. This was back in the day before child raising gurus and the self help motherhood books were popular. When her last little one went off to school, l my mom went back to the classroom, too, where she taught kindergarten for 25 years.

Lenore instilled the love of stories in me. First she read storybooks to me and later passed on that love to her grandchildren

As we reminisce on the phone and my mom tells her stories, I realize that although I flew far from the nest long ago, her philosophy of life has always been a part of me. Today, her reflections on raising children are still spot on, so I wanted to share her answer to the Storyworth question of this week.

“What is the best advice you would give about raising children?”

“The best advice I would give about raising children would be to love your child unconditionally, appreciate their uniqueness and know there is NO such thing as a “perfect parent”. The best parents are always willing to learn, change and improve their skills as well as allow their child to take small risks and let them make decisions on their own. That means there will be falls, scrapes and injuries”.

“Let your parent strategies build on mutual respect and a natural drive to get through the day smoothly. Be patient and persuade your child to calm down and cooperate. Work toward self discipline and allow them failure because a child will learn from his/her mistakes. Think of yourself as your child’s trusted and effective guide, not their dictator. Learn what is age appropriate so you won’t be expecting too much or too little.”

”Let them know how very precious he/she is to you and how much you love them. Tell them what it is you love about them. Enjoy every stage because time goes very fast. Encourage and praise and when very young (toddler age) try using distraction to avoid always saying No! Be playful and especially loving when (the child is) having a “meltdown” if possible. Remember you will make mistakes and that is OK. It is best if both parents agree and stand firm.”

My sister, who is a kindergarten teacher, wants to share this with her parents. My daughter, a pediatrician, imparts that message to the families she works with and in my role as a mother, teacher and coach it was the principles with which I tried to guide my charges.

As a young mother, my mom was wise beyond her years and even now on her 86th birthday she is sharp enough to continue imparting that wisdom. Her message is timeless. It shaped my life. It shaped the lives of my children. And it will probably continue to influence the way my eldest niece raises my mom’s first great grandchild.

Posted in education, family, inspiration.


  1. Dear Pat,
    I remember your parents. I saw them for a couple of days, when I visited you in Sterling.
    Both your parents then were nice and friendly people and made a confident impression too to me.
    Tom from Marburg

    • I will make sure they hear your message. I still remember that visit when you stopped off on your trip cross country in a greyhound bus. I think you are the only person I know who has ever attempted that feat. Kisses from Geneva.

  2. Pat, I found you!! Happy Birthday to your wise, wonderful mom! I love her advice about raising a child with unconditional love. Too many kids these days grow up being compared and contrasted (many, unfairly) with others, when we all thrive on love.

  3. Your mother is amazing. I loved reading her advice. As a child hanging out at your house, I was impressed with her skills as a mother. Once when you and Sue were having a problem, she had you each go to your room and write about it. That gave you a chance to calm down. Maybe that helped you to be a writer. She was giving you the tool to express yourself in writing.

    I also remember her calm voice as she helped you with her problems.

    I am blessed to also have a wonderful mother. They are very much alike. I guess that is why they are such good friends.

    • Oh Cindy thanks for sharing that memory of my mom’s negotiating skills. I do think she got me to spend a lot of time writing about squabbles I was having with the world. I was always flying off the handle about something. You were also blessed with a great mom who I remember as always being soft spoken, kind and encouraging. Yes, a lot like my mom and it no wonder they became good friends and much loved kindergarten teachers for all those kids whose lives they touched.

  4. Oh, Pat. I love reading about your wonderful Mom. I feel as if I’ve met her through your eloquent writing. She reminds me of my own beloved mother and what an incredible blessing having her has been. Happy 86th Birthday and many more.

    • Thanks Kathy. And even though your mom was Italian and mine was Norwegian, I think we were raised a lot a like.

  5. Greetings to your parents and happy birthday to your mom. We are missing out on visiting Summit Lake this summer. God’s blessings on your recovery as well. Joe

  6. Just getting to this post now. Your mother is a very wise woman and always seems so patient and kind. It is reflected in her four wonderful children. Will share this with my daughter who is parenting a toddler and is already more wise than I was at her age. I hope Lenore had a beautiful day.

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