Sunday, November 22, 2009

"Reward and Punishment"

Here is a little section of The Parent's Tao Te Ching: Ancient Advice for Modern Parents - A New Interpretation by William Martin. Lovely to contemplate. . . maybe with a cup of tea.


Be careful of rules for your children.
Rules diminish responsibility.
Be careful of rewards for your children.
Rewards diminish self-esteem.
Be careful of punishments for your children.
Punishments diminish trust.

Let lessons be imposed
by the nature of things,
not by your own agendas
or your own needs.
Integrity will replace rules.
Contentment will replace striving.
Spirituality will replace religion.
Songs will replace arguments.
Dances will replace battles.

Don't tell me this is overly simple.
Perhaps the most courageous act
of any parent's life
will be that moment
when, even though it breaks your heart,
you stand aside
and let your children
take the natural consequences
of their actions.


  1. Oh my gosh, I'm reading this exact same book! I have been trying to read one or two "chapters" a night, then meditate afterward to let the words seep in more. It's great stuff. Funny that you'd turn to it at the same time.

  2. Nee nee nee nee.

    Well, I've had it for about a year, and read through it a couple of times, but I realized that if I just take it one piece at a time (kind of like you), it might actually *influence* me. Zany idea, I know.