Creative Parenting: Perfect Family Checklists
Developed from ideas presented in The Urantia
A series of checklists and questions designed to stimulate thought
and discussion about parenting and family life.
By Patrick Yesh
PARENTAL QUESTIONNAIRE DERIVED FROM THE BEATITUDES
AND THE SEVEN FACTS OF A TRUE FAMILY
Jesus, of course, was using the Father-parent analogy to create a new
picture for future generations (ours) who would understand the God-the-Father-Creator
relationship to His creature children. However, today, many mothers now
assume the `only-parent' role in the shattered family, and men who are
tragically absent from the family need to awaken to the true parent image.
We have, therefore, taken the liberty to edit Christ's statement so that
this lesson applies to men and women who are parents. To further transform
this lesson-in-parenting into a more personal form, the following questionnaire
was designed by readers from Kingston, Ontario for parents on Urantia.
THE SEVEN FACTS OF A TRUE FAMILY: ITS FOUNDATION
- 1. The Fact of Existence.
- a. What parental traits (biological, psychological, spiritual) have
your children inherited from you? From father? From mother?
- b. Can you describe each of your children's personalities?
- c. How would you describe your father-child relationship? Your mother-child
- 2. Security and Pleasure.
- a. What needs of your children have you as a father or a mother taken
great pleasure in supplying lately?
- b. What provisions for each of your children's pleasure have you enjoyed
- 3. Education and Training.
- a. Describe your wise and careful plan for:
- (1) your children's education.
- (2) your son's or your daughter's training.
- b. For what later life greater responsibilities are you preparing your
children? Name each responsiblity and indicate your method(s) of preparation.
- 4. Discipline and Restraint.
- a. What are your farseeing provisions for the following:
- (1) discipline: physical, mental, spiritual
- (2) guidance: parental, familial, peer, mentor
- (3) correction: consequences for specific behaviors
- (4) restraint: by self, family, parent, or others
- 5. Companionship and Loyalty.
- a. How do you affectionately hold intimate and loving intercourse with
- b. Are you always open to your children's' petitions?
- c. Do you share each of their hardships and assist them in overcoming
- d. How would you describe your supreme interest in the progressive
welfare of your children and grandchildren? What have you done to provide
for their happiness, good fortune, well-being and prosperity?
- 6. Love and Mercy.
- a. Do you freely forgive your children and exercise compassion; are
you sympathetic towards their distress and do you desire to alleviate it?
- b. Do you hold vengeful memories against your children for any length
- c. Do you judge your children; are you an enemy to any of them in their
eyes at any time?
- d. Do you act like a creditor? Under what circumstances?
- e. Can you give an example of a time recently when you were real with
your children and exercised:
- (1) Tolerance
- (2) Patience
- (3) Forgiveness
- 7. Provisions for the Future.
- a. Describe your sons' inheritances, your daughters' inheritances;
your grandchildren's inheritances.
- b. Describe your plans and projections for your family's continuity
after your death as parents.
- c. Do your children believe and trust that you will be there for them
in all of this life; that your loyalty and love is ever true?
This was our Master's model of our Paradise Father's actual living relationship
with all of us as His unique and individual children. As Jesus discussed
this with his apostles, we as parents can discuss the applications of these
same features of family life with our children. We can make very clear
to each other our specific goals, objectives and plans to develop a strong
foundation for our family life.
Parents can discuss these Seven Facts of Family at monthly family meetings
and do some consensus planning. You could also discuss the application
of these features of a true family to each of your relationships with God.
PARENTAL TRAITS GLEANED FROM THE BEATITUDES (p.1570)
- Males must not be taught to be calloused or cynical.
- Kindness and sympathy are qualities modeled by the father, as well
as meekness, mournfulness in sympathy to the losses of others.
- Parents are sensitive and responsive to the needs of others.
- Curtail destructive criticisms, which teach children how to internalize
negative emotions and create poor self-image.
- Provide for family pleasures.
- Provide for the family's present and future security.
- Be a loyal companion, not an absent father.
- Correct any duality in treatment of the different sexes of your children.
Be forgiving freely and a loving disciplinarian.
- Encourage a child's natural positive self-image and self-esteem.
- Learn to suppress immediate gratification.
- Early learn to sacrifice.
- Naturally function as peacemakers.
- Respond to the challenge of courage.
- Encourage and augment the child's natural urge to relieve suffering.
- Teach them to express emotions without expectation of reward; to project
the future consequences of expressing immediate feelings or emotions, which
may at the time, be inappropriate.
DR. WAYNE DYER
From the article, "Give Your Kids the Gift of Creativity."
You as parents first of all are the creator of your child's self- image.
As parents our primary concern is to focus on what our children think of
themselves, rather than attempting to shape their attitudes towards other
people, things, and events. This is what determines our success and happiness
in life. The child's positive self-portrait is a direct result of the kind
of reinforcements they receive from you on a daily basis.
- 1. Encourage children to be risk takers.
- o to gain a sense of accomplishment.
- o to try new things and not to be afraid of failure.
- o praise them for attempting new projects, "You're fantastic."
- 2. Discourage children from all self put-downs.
- o respond with positive reinforcement when they do.
- o use simple direct positive self-esteem statements that counteract
the negative statements. They will internalize them.
- 3. Encourage children to be honest with themselves.
- o place a premium on honesty at all times.
- o when honest with himself, he/she will develop self-esteem.
- o most of all that means that you have to set the example of honest
behavior and not lie, which is a reflection of low self-regard.
- o create a truthful environment in your home.
- 4. Be aware of the importance of appearance to young people.
- o run a mile a day with the kids to get them on a program of exercise.
- o refuse to buy junk food if the children have a weight or complexion
- o show by example that you want them to think of themselves as attractive
- 5. Hold them and kiss them, be physical with them.
- o touching and holding children is crucial in the development of a
- o tell them that you love them every day.
- o soon they will love themselves if you hug and kiss and demonstrate
that they are really terrific.
- o you are sending important messages about their own value.
- o they will love themselves as you love them, even if your love is
God-like, as God loves them.
- 6. Listen to your children carefully.
- o be attentive and honest with them at all times.
- o this is the cornerstone of an honest and respectful attitude towards
- o ask about their school, friends, and activities each day. They will
think that they are significant people.
- 7. Be involved in their activities (age related).
- o throw balls with them, all kinds of balls.
- o play with them always, at all ages.
- o attend their functions. Get excited about their activities.
- o when children see you care they feel more important, and that is
what a healthy self-image is based on.
- 8. Encourage them to have their friends hang out at home.
- o show them their friends are welcome and that you see them as important
- o the message the child receives is that you trust their judgment,
that if they like their friends, that is good enough for you.
- o this tells the child that you believe in them and therefore they
will believe in themselves.
- 9. Read aloud to them at all ages.
- o give them your most precious commodity, your TIME.
- o share your favorite stories with them.
- o tell them what happened to you as a baby, and tell them how wonderful
they were as a baby.
- o all attention of this kind is a self-image booster.
- 10. Be supportive of their attempts to be independent, self- reliant.
- o encourage them to take jobs after school, earn an allowance, choose
their own meals, decorate their rooms, anything that gives them a sense
of independence and belonging.
- o budget their own money, select well-made clothes, cook, clean, care
for their own belongings, schedule their time for work and leisure, be
courteous with thank you notes and gifts for others, eat a balanced diet,
get sufficient sleep.
CREATIVITY IN CHILDREN
All children are creative. We encourage or discourage that natural creativity
by the way we relate to our children. Raise them to be as creative as they
Creativity is an approach to life, it is an attitude that leads one
to more and more personal fulfillment. It allows us to apply our own special
selves to all of life's undertakings.
Creative children's personalities can be identified by the following
- love to play and invent new games.
- make up new rules.
- invent new characters for everyone to assume.
- ask questions about everything, curiosity has no boundaries, are interested
in everything, do not fear the unknown.
- spontaneous, inventing new ways to have fun.
- play with everything in sight; tin cans, garden hose, etc.
- entertain themselves.
- don't need expensive toys.
- confident within themselves of a positive outcome.
- take risks without fear of failure.
- trust themselves, they know that they can do whatever they attempt;
e.g., jump off 10-meter diving board.
- creative children want to go, they are not spectators.
- while they are waiting they are inventing new games.
- prefer to work and play alone.
- are sometimes labeled loners, underachievers (if not challenged), and
troublemakers, always by non-creative people.
- they love books, and have varied interests.
- love to sing and dance and mimic in even their pre-toddler stage.
- love puzzles, blocks, mazes, challenging toys which make their minds
- draw their own pictures, invent stories.
- work creatively with glue, paste, scraps of paper.
- wear their emotions right on their faces; sensitive and unwilling to
be phoney about how they feel.
- quick to show their anger and equally quick to show their love. One
minute hugging, the next screaming.
- creative with food and cooking.
- have a great sense of real humor, not negative. Help others laugh.
- love competition.
- love themselves as they are, not self-critical.
- love the challenge of self-improvement.
- know that their self-value comes from the quality and content of their
actions and character.
- enjoy solitary entertainments such as reading, jogging, learning to
play a new instrument, even though social and gregarious.
Jesus as a Creative Parental Role Model:
As Father and Brother
Families today need to know how to play, work and worship together.
Much of my continuing research on spiritually ideal family lifestyles has
its roots in Julia Fenderson's earlier works on parenting and child rearing.
She once told me of the importance of having others continue her work in
guiding parents into more spiritually fruitful family practices. Parents
can learn much from her original papers which focus on Jesus' inspiring
life, along with suggestions for training people for parenthood.
The ultimate role model for family life as a father and creative brother
is that of Jesus. There are a multitude of references to Jesus and his
relationship with his family in the Urantia Papers. Besides providing for
their financial welfare Jesus took a keen, personal interest in the spiritual
welfare of every one of his brothers and sisters. (p.1419) See Addendum
A for the "Perfect Parent Checklist," an outline of Jesus' personality
traits for parents striving to grow in spirit perception.
Of course, as a parental model Jesus' bottom line was following the
will of the Father. Jesus knew God never left his children, so naturally
his fatherly example centered on his obligation of watchcare and support
for his family. They came before all other duties. Urantia fathers must
understand the importance of Jesus' example of relinquishing his personal
desires for his duty to his family; his loss of self; his example of other-mindedness.
Even later the apostles and disciples became Jesus' family and the organization
was run on family rules. His gospel was based on family, family of God,
family of Man, and the concept of the brotherhood of man. (p.1603) Parents
must study Jesus' example and apply it to their family, to the spiritual
growth of each member. The following are a few examples of Jesus' problem
solving skills as a creative parent.
- Coping with family poverty: p.1392
- Keen business judgment and financial sagacity: pp. 1389-1398
- Formulating spontaneous prayers: p. 1389
- A father at 14 and in contact with his Thought Adjuster
- Musical skills: p. 1388
- Gardening with the family and raising animals: p. 1393
- Positive injunctions to do good, not to forbid doing evil. Commanding
the performance of good: p. 1401
- Family prayer time, an opportunity to discuss everything and anything
related to the welfare of the family: p. 1401
- Wise discipline. Punishment assented to by the one punished and agreed
upon by all members of the family: p.1401
- Plan for the achievement of a higher goal of (spiritual) idealism while
toiling for the immediate goals of necessity: p. 1405
- Periodic family conferences: p. 1410
- Making family legal contracts with his earth brother: p.1418
- A wise parent never takes sides in the petty quarrels of his own children:
- The seven facts of foundation of a true family: p. 1603
Jesus did not perform miracles with his earthly family or his immediate
followers. (p.1605) Why do Christians expect miracles?
Jesus was wholly concerned with that inward and spiritual fellowship
with God the Father. (p.1862) We as parents must also develop that fellowship
with our children and those in our care, whether they be children, adults
or seniors. We Urantia parents can strive to be Jesus' parental model for
his kingdom family. We are all children at heart and cosmic children in
the great universe ascendant adventure. Fellowship with God the Father
"certainly and directly manifests itself as outward and loving service
for man. He taught that the religion of the kingdom is a genuine personal
experience which no man can contain within himself; that the consciousness
of being a member of the family of believers leads inevitably to the practice
of the precepts of the family conduct, the service of one's brothers and
sisters in the effort to enhance and enlarge the brotherhood." (p.1862)
Perfect Parent Checklist
Are you striving toward Jesus' perfect ideals of parenthood? If in doubt
about your progress, why not consult this checklist?
JESUS WAS ALWAYS:
- Unfailingly kind
- Free from affectation
- Refreshingly genuine
- Unquestionably loyal to all truth
- Surcharged with divine enthusiasm
- Immune to disappointment
- Impervious to persecution
- Untouched by apparent failure
- Unusually cheerfull
- Touchingly considerate
- Candid but always kind
- Amazingly frank
- Unerringly fair -- even in the face of injustice
- Gladsome and humble
- Sublimely composed
- Indignant at evil
- Intolerant of sin
- Conscious of the presence of God
- Profoundly confident in the universe
- Devoid of fear and anxiety
- Cordial but unaffected
- Manly and decisive
- Wise and efficient in administration
- Carefree and happy
- Hungry for knowledge
- Saving but generous
- Methodical and systematic
- Understanding and sympathetic
- Keenly observant
- Gracious and friendly
- A great story teller
- A master of men
- Able to avoid distracting details
- A charming listener
- Positive -- he exalted good by commanding its performance
- Ludicly logical
- A model of sanity
- A master of delegation
- Perfect in his youth
- Immune to disappointment
- Subject to the will of the Father in heaven
- Sublimely tolerant
- Gracious and charming
- Methodical and systematic in everything he did
- Ready to share
- Interested and a keen observer
JESUS WAS NEVER:
- Erratic or eccentric
- Capricious, whimsical or hysterical
- Dull or prosaic
- Bound by tradition
- Handicapped by enslavement to narrow conventionality
- A blind or unreasoning optimist
- Wasteful or extravagent
- Influenced by praise
- Angry with sinner
- Disturbed seriously by doubts, fears or skepticism
JESUS NEVER (OR SELDOM):
- Offered advice unless asked for
- Resorted to shamming
- Stooped to pretense
- Took advantage of the human mind
- Compromised with evil
- Paid attention to public opinion
- Wasted time on trifles
- Hesitated to correct erroneous beliefs
- Indulged in pity
- Let familiarity breed indifference
- Indulged in self-pity or increased it in others
- Engaged in meddlesom probing of souls of associates
- Hesitated to be severe when occassion demanded such discipline
- Threatened tormentors
- Stooped to ignoble tatics
- Attacked problems as he found them
- Mobilized all powers of mind, soul and body on the task at hand
- Took responsibility
- Handled disappointment
- Made plans for distant goals
- Took time to comfort
- Put men at ease
- Spread good cheer
- Loved much and wisely
- Aimed at superb self-respect
- Inspired others with hope and confidence
JESUS ALWAYS HAD: