DEAR ABBY: My father, the late Wilferd A. Peterson, wrote an essay that I feel is needed by parents who are floundering in this day of terror in the schools. I have heard on the radio and seen on television the same idea expressed in various ways, but none expressed it as well as my father did in his essay.
The "Art of Parenthood" was published in "The Art of Living Treasure Chest" (Simon and Schuster), but I would be pleased if you would print it in your column. -- LILIAN PETERSON THORPE, PINEHURST, N.C.
DEAR LILIAN: Your talented father offers valuable advice in this essay. I am pleased to share it with my readers. Read on:
THE ART OF PARENTHOOD
by Wilferd A. Peterson
"Of all the commentaries on the Scriptures," wrote John Donne, "good examples are the best."
In practicing the art of parenthood, an ounce of example is worth a ton of preachment.
Our children are watching us live, and what we ARE shouts louder than anything we can SAY.
When we set an example of honesty, our children will be honest.
When we practice tolerance, they will be tolerant.
When we demonstrate good sportsmanship, they will be good sports.
When we meet life with laughter and a twinkle in our eye, they will develop a sense of humor.
When we are thankful for life's blessings, they will be thankful.
When we express friendliness, they will be friendly.
When we speak words of praise, they will praise others.
When we confront failure, defeat and misfortune with a gallant spirit, they will learn to live bravely.
When our lives affirm our faith in the enduring values of life, they will rise above doubt and skepticism.
When we surround them with the love and goodness of God, they will discover life's meaning.
When we set an example of heroic living, they will be heroes.
Don't just stand there pointing your finger to the heights you want your children to scale. Start climbing, and they will follow!