The Words of the Saver Family

How Should We Parent Our Teenagers to Become Owners of Cheon Il Guk?

Paul Saver
January 11, 2011

Do we fall back on how we were parented and use that together with our understanding of the Divine Principle? Does that mean we try to "guide or counsel" our teenager? From my 31 years membership experience in our church, "counseling or guiding" usually means "telling". We even call this "education". However the word "education" comes from the Latin word "educare" which means to "draw out". This is very different from "telling".

My family [of origin] experience as a child was that 90% or more of the time my parents spent their time "directing and correcting" us children. After becoming a high school teacher and later a parent myself I too found myself spending the vast majority of the time "correcting and directing" those in my care. [Also most of my leaders, in my church life, just told me what to do and told me when I did something wrong. Most of the time, I had no problem with that type of leadership and thought that was normal] The result was that I was always getting angry because some of the students/children often did not do what they were told to do or did not receive correction well. The nurturing, encouraging and supporting role as a teacher and parent was taking a back seat. The result was that I did not have moral authority, respect was not being established and I was getting stressed to the point of wanting to hit people.

A breathe of fresh air came into my mind beginning in 1991 when I began to immerse myself in the character education curricula that was created by the International Educational Foundation (IEF). I was attracted by not only the amazing content but also the way you teach this stuff (i.e. the methodology)

Around 2000 I read a book titled "The Heart Of Parenting" by John Gottman, which talks about raising an emotionally intelligent child and presents the concept of parent as coach. This one book caused me to begin to completely change my parenting style.

In 2008 I completed a Certificate IV in Life Coaching. At the same time I studied behavioral psychology informally. Both of these streams of study had a deep impact on me not only as a parent but as a leader.

I believe that coaching is THE management philosophy of the future that will revolutionize how we raise children and teenagers, how we teach and how we lead. A powerful reason why I say this is because, through a coaching approach, you teach responsibility, initiative and accountability. All these three elements (responsibility, initiative and accountability) blended together means ownership.

Incidentally, all eight points of the Family Pledge tells us that we ought to become "the owner of Cheon Il Guk". Yet as parents, teachers and leaders, how do we teach ownership? It certainly is not done by "directing and correcting". If just telling your kid what to do and correcting them when they do wrong is the way to go, it should make our job easy. However is it working? Is this the way to prevent our children from losing their sexual purity or from 'leaving' the church? Or is it the way to help our kids become balanced, grounded, mature, moral and caring human beings?

Having said that, am I saying there is no place for "directing and correcting"? Absolutely not. As a parent, teacher and leader there comes times when you have to make a stand. When it becomes the norm this is problematic. If you are fighting a military battle, there needs to be officers issuing commands (there is no time for democracy when bullets are flying past your head). However bring that military style into your family you will end up with soldiers (spouse and children) who will 'jump ship'!

Through character education, self help parenting books and life coaching I discovered a practical way for us to become great parents, develop as couples and raise happy and inspired teenagers. I do not profess to be an expert. There are emotional dramas that occur every day in my family as we seek to learn and grow. However I do believe that together with DP and True Father's words, the "parent as coach" formula provides a blueprint for effective and peaceful parenting. 

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