Create Your Own
Parenting Manifesto
Who are you? Do you know?  What are you passionate about? Have thought about what was great and what was not-so-great about how you were raised?  Have you weighed the nurture versus nature argument in your brain and determined how you will act with this creature that is "yours?"  Have you talked about upbringing with your spouse or significant other?  (Hint: you might want to do this.)

Passion is extremely underrated as a parental motivator for the sane among us.  The books seem to stress comfort, happiness, balance, and a lot of other reassuring words.  But parenting isn't about your comfort.  Parenting isn't really even about you -- despite what the baby boomers think.  It's about your kid, about your gift to society.  How you raise your kid helps to define the future. 

My mother is the principal of an alternative high school.  They teach children who don't fit into the regular school system.  Many of the children were born into very difficult situations, to put it mildly. Some have never been nurtured or disciplined, were never  made to go to school,  taught to read, or focused upon.  Several years ago, she made a comment that I still remember.  She said "If we're not careful, an entire generation of serfs will slip through the cracks."

So we have poor people in America turning into serfs (with the serf's awareness of life as being within one square mile of where they live -- for life.)  And we have the fundamentalists of every ilk breeding their kids to hate and distrust people from other religions and colors and backgrounds and motivations.  Great.  And then we have the upper middle class people here in the silicon valley allowing their kids to be stuffed into overachieving classrooms where they are sent home with mind-numbing homework from the age of 5, and taught that they must be diligent, manipulative, and, most of all, present well if they are going to be accepted into a University (and presumably get a job).

Well, two of those little overachieving kids-turned-teens just committed suicide in the past 6 months here in Palo Alto.  Which really might make parents try to figure out who they are and what they want their kids to do in life before throwing their kids over to a hyperstimulating, hypercompetitive lifestyle when they're, oh.... six?

To create your own manifesto, sit down and think of the five most important things to you about raising a kid. Write 'em down.  Then keep them around for a week or so.  Scratch some  out, add to the rest.  Flesh it out.  Then ship it to me. I'd love to hear what you think are the absolute most important things!