Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : October 1st 2014 Contents A39
Wednesday, October 1, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
A single mother of three wrote to
say how stressed out she had been
feeling because of the demands of
her job and raising the kids only with
the help of her elderly mother who
spent time with them as often as she
This mother s main concern was
that because she was always tired, she
hardly ever had any time to spend
with them. Above all, she felt guilty
because she just didn t want to hear
from them once she got home, so most
of her children s evening hours were
spent watching television.
Whether you are a father, mother,
teacher, aunt, uncle, grandparent or
caregiver the above situation may
interest you. Whether you have one
child, five children or no children, you
may find this conversation interesting.
Whether you touch a child s life for
one minute, one day, one month, one
year or one lifetime, you may be
pleased to have an opportunity to
reflect on the quality of the mark that
you leave on what one psychologist
has called the child s "blank slate or
the tabula rasa."
I am glad that this mother is con-
cerned about her impact on these
At some point in this life or the next
I believe that we will all be accountable
for that sacred trust and it is not too
late for us to check in and see how
well or how badly we are doing. What
kind of marks have we left?
How have these marks affected the
children whose lives we have touched?
If we are doing well, we must do
better; if we are doing badly, we must
strive to do better, now.
Let s ponder, realise and accept that
our children are under siege, while we
adults confront and cope with the
solemn and serious responsibility of
family leadership, in a world of change
Almost always, the mystery of what
we become, who we are, what we do,
and how we live, lie in the depths of
our childhood experiences.
Ah, the power of parents, and others
endowed with the sacred trust of
child-rearing! In today s hectic world
where the television and video games
rule, we, the adults, the leaders must
take back prime time! We must
become the stars who leave the marks
on the minds of our children.
Let us not leave this sacred trust to
the strangers who will sometimes
touch our children s lives.
The question becomes, how can we
do this alone while also fighting to
put food on the table?
In this mother s case, I recommend
building a stronger support system,
in addition to her elderly mother.
Then, find the inner strength that
we all have to do the best that you
can. In this case, this means finding
a little time to listen and to let the
children know that they are loved.
I know that there are parents who
have no television sets in their homes.
I know of parents who don t allow
video games in the house. I am not
one of those parents and I am not
suggesting that you be one either.
I commend those parents for their
strength in taking that firm stand
against the norm of what is happening
today---television rules with video
games as a good second-in-command.
I happen to believe that moderation
is the key.
Let your children watch the televi-
sion and play the video games---to an
extent---but let your voice dominate.
What I am trying to say is that while
we can allow our children to watch
television, play video games and do
all the activities that compete for our
time today, we must set aside time to
talk and to listen.
It is very easy to lose these oppor-
tunities that will never come back.
Like the sped arrow, the spoken work
and the lost opportunity, our children
will grow, leave home, even die and
we would not have left our marks on
So, the time to begin is now.
Whether you have a teenager or a tod-
dler, here are some tips for when you
talk and listen.
Time for adults to
take back prime time
DR MONICA STARKE
The Starke Reality
SEVEN LAWS FOR LISTENING
Dr Starke is a psychotherapist/life
skills coach and OD (Organisational
Development) consultant who
provides workshops/seminars for
employees and supervisors.
Please contact her at
• Children know when we are really listening, so listen with sincerity.
• Children need consistency, so listen regularly.
• Children need time, so make time to listen.
• Children need love; listening is love.
• Put down the pen, close the book, and turn off the phone
• Remember that we communicate with our expressions as well
• Sometimes we don't need to talk, just listen.
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