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Parenting choices — good, better and best

When making choices for our children, we almost always have a menu from which to choose.

The menu includes good, better and best. Each of these choices can have positive results

An example of a good choice is to go to work each day to provide for the needs of your family, then come home to relax and watch TV. A better choice might be to work a little overtime to be able to buy a few extras for the kids. The best choice might be to work less overtime and try to work out time to attend your children’s sporting events or activities.

The time with your children is irreplaceable. Once the event or time you could have spent is gone, you cannot get it back. The overtime you worked cannot buy that time back.

Spending time with your child will show their dad and mom support and love them. Your child will see dad and mom put him or her above everything else. The financial situation of the family must be taken into account when making these decisions.

I can recall qualifying for a national boxing tournament in Marquette, Mich., in 1989, when I was 17 years old. My mother dropped me off at the airport to meet the Texas Gulf Boxing Team. After my mother left, the coach told the team his 1988 Olympic Boxer (Todd Foster) had a pro fight in a few days. He told us he couldn’t go to Michigan with the team. He paid a 22-year-old young man $100 to take a team of 17- and 18-year-olds and to be our “coach” and “team manager” for a week. This young man had never boxed or coached in his life.

The team arrived in Marquette, at a branch of the main Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. I called my mother and informed her about the situation. My mother had four brothers who fought professionally and one who fought for the boxing heavyweight title of the world in 1958. My mom knew the importance of having someone in the corner coaching me who knew what they were doing.

My mother was raising five boys and a daughter on a single parent’s income. As you can imagine, funds were tight. My mom borrowed some money from a family member and left with my brother to drive to northern Michigan that day. My brother and mother took off work and drove shifts during the 30-hour drive to Michigan from Texas. They arrived about two hours before my first fight.

My mother and brother stayed for all three of my boxing matches, a fact I remember 23 years later with gratitude. It would have been good to have my mother encourage me on the phone, telling me that everything would be all right and to do my best, by myself. It would have been better for her to have just flown my brother or another family member to Michigan to give me moral support and help coach me. The best thing she could have done was to show her love for me by sacrificing her time and borrowing money to come support her son, 30 hours away from the comforts of home.

Parents, your children know were you put them on the priority list. If your children know they are at the top of the list, it creates a bond and a feeling of safety and security in their minds. Your children’s confidence in themselves will be strengthened, and they in turn will likely put your grandchildren high on the priority list from the example they learn from you.

Parents, there are thousands of scenarios that can and do arise within a family. We must weigh the good, better and best ways to handle each individual situation according to the variables that each circumstance presents.

Parents many times learn by trial and error what is the best choice in their daily problem solving for family issues. Parents, I hope we will make the best choice for our families when these issues come before us. I know if we take time to stop and think before responding with a hasty judgment, we will make the best choice in most situations for our families.

If parents are interested in learning helpful parenting and relationship skills, please call me, Monte Lane, the Archuleta County Fatherhood Advocate at 264-2182, Ext. 227.

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