Have you ever thought about what makes the difference in successful child rearing especially when too many children, pre-teens, and teen-agers seem to have become “victims” of adults who have missed the mark? We’re not referring only to non-caring adults and child practitioners but also those adults who seem to embody and embrace the qualities needed to produce caring, compassionate, involved, and accomplished children. Why does it too often appear that our precious plants and animals get more of the best of us than do our children? Could it be perhaps, that plants and animals can’t or don’t resist us as do children; that they don’t balk and sulk at the least admonishing, have no ax to grind and no prior knowledge or experience ( as some children have) with the myriad of negative forces into which they are born or become infused? Plants “respond” to favorable stimuli or the lack thereof and animals may initially put up a good fight in the face of rigorous training, but after such rigorous and consistent training coupled with the appropriate rewards, the results may be an animal who will do just as we have trained him to do. Now that is precisely my point; Producing good plants, ones we want to admire and display in a variety of settings, ones we wish to maintain through their designated season(s), and ones we want to replant from year to year takes a great deal of nurturing on our part. Very few plants and flowers flourish (the way we want them to), void of perpetual care. Even weeds can’t grow under the wrong conditions. Do you see where I am going here? Plants that you choose to nurture will reward you from season to season and animals you desire to train or befriend will “shower” you with the level of affection equal to the level of quality training and time invested in them. I did not say that they would not be productive for you and would not give you hours and years of pleasure without special attention, but I do emphasize that they will give you their best if they have received the best from you, their owners and caretakers.
A former principal of mine used to preface memos as ‘gentle reminders’ for those tasks in urgent need of completion or attention. I presume that it was her way of saying, without raising the ire of her staff that the due date on a project was fast approaching; therefore we needed to get moving toward its completion. It was quite effective as far as I was concerned because you knew instinctively that she wanted to convey an important message without alienating anyone, and because of the firm but gentle tone employed in her memos, you gladly worked diligently to meet those all important “lifelines” (as I prefer to say) , not deadlines.
A Chinese proverb reads thusly, ‘Govern a family as you would cook a small fish----very gently’. Fish are very delicate flesh and must be handled with care especially when cooking. They will easily break or separate. Only certain utensils are most effective when turning the fish in a pan or on a grill. Families are strong as a unit but each member must be handled with care which helps to prevent or reduce tension and or friction. The message in Our Best And Most Accomplished is not new and certainly not one that has not already been conveyed in a multitude of venues in places all over the world. It is not a re- invention of the wheel. Instead, it is a “wheel” which has been modified and stream-lined to reach more of the “masses”. Many have come before us and have inspired in us the desire to reach our highest good. Nothing could ever diminish the collective effect of individuals throughout history who have made a difference in the life of one person or in the lives of many. It so happens that on that historic night of November 4, 2008, Barrack Obama’s election to the presidency stirred up in me the words in my book, Our Best And Most Accomplished as a reminder that if we want to produce children of great character, produ
Helen Miles grew up in the coastal community of Daytona Beach, FL where she also began her formal education. She graduated from Daytona Beach Community College with an AA Degree in 1975, a BS Degree from Florida State University, ’78, and a Master of Education Degree from Stetson University, 1982. Helen enjoys political and social commentaries as well as auto-biographies most of all. Highlights of her writing experiences include being selected by her fifth grade teacher to be the pen pal to another fifth grade girl from York, Nebraska. The proverbial “icing on the cake” however, was having her essay selected by the Daytona Beach Symphony Society’s LSO in the HOME program; three winning essayists hosted members of the London Symphony Orchestra in their homes for a mini-concert during the spring of 2009! Miles is currently working on a book of essays on a variety of topics of which she hopes to complete within a year. She is currently teaching language arts to middle school students in the Volusia County area. Her husband, Billy, recently retired after 33 years of distinguished service as an educator. She credits her parents, William and Nettie Ryan for her lifelong love of learning and high regard for education. In summary, Miles believes writing to be one of the highest forms of expression. She often reminds her students that if one wishes to be remembered, WRITE SOMETHING.
Excellent read and important message, set in poetry; Necessary actualization if our children are to achieve their maximum potential, helping to create a maximized level of success in our world. The words of this book remind me of the song lyrics: "I believe the children are our future; teach them well and let them lead the way; show them all the beauty they possess inside; give them a sense of pride to make it easier..." Our Best and Most Accomplished is an easy-to-read call to action. Heaven knows, much is at stake.
Beautifully-written prose reminding young people about the importance of being the absolute best that they can be, while simultaneously encouraging those who interact with them, to believe in and nurture them along the path to becoming one of 'our best and most accomplished'!