Preface

I decided to add this for people on the fence about buying my book.  Obviously, with most books, you can go to a bookstore, thumb through it, and make a decision.  With mine, you are implementing some blind faith.  I hope you can make a clearer decision on whether the book is right for you after reading this.

Preface

I had just graduated from college sitting alone in the basement of my mother’s home thinking “Now what?”  I had a received a double major in Communications and Psychology from Bellarmine University in 3 ½ years.  Unfortunately, I had not received a job.

I decided to try to work with children so I called Boys Haven to request an interview.  Upon hearing I was only 22 years old, I was not granted one because their clientele were mainly teenagers and they understandably wanted to hire people who were older.  Nevertheless, I was referred to a man named Dennis Davis who was the head of St. Joseph Children’s Home.  Thankfully, I was granted a face to face interview.  The interview kicked off the journey to everything I’ve learned about children.  I knew I really wanted the job when Dennis told me they had rooms where house parents could live.  Some of the sweetest words my mom ever heard from me probably came on the day when I said, “I’m moving out of your basement.”

This book is intended for anyone who ever wanted a helping hand with raising children.  I’ll caution you though.  There is not one correct way to do this.  I don’t pretend to have a magic touch and I’m certain I don’t have every answer to every problem.  Also, there are many parents whose philosophies of raising children are different than mine.  Nevertheless, they have outstanding children I’d be proud to call my own.

What I can tell you is I learned plenty from a multitude of people.   I’ll talk about some of these people and relate their stories.  For now, I’ll tell you that all of them had an impact on how I do things and are credited with any success I have achieved.

My greatest attribute for writing this book is perspective.  I’ve worked with over 400 children; many around the clock.  The children came from many different backgrounds at St. Joseph Children’s Home.  All but one child had something in common.  Their parents had been stripped of their parental rights by the courts.  Our main goal was to prepare the children to be mentally ready to either be placed in an adoptive home or in foster care.  This goal was obviously difficult but I’m proud to say we were able to do it with many kids.

While working at St. Joseph’s, I received my post graduate degree (MAT) which is a Masters of Arts and Teaching.  It sounded ridiculous to me that I hadn’t stepped into a classroom and yet I was a certified master of teaching.  I taught for 7 ½ years in grades 1st through 4thin three very different schools.  I was always moved to whatever grade I was needed to teach.   The experience gave me the opportunity to see different age groups in a short period of time.

Finally, I have two children of my own.  For years, I had so many more around me at one time that mine can actually strike me as quiet although their personalities are pretty outgoing.  At St. Joseph’s, I was responsible for 4-8 children at a time.  While teaching, I was responsible for as many as 26.

I think it’s safe to say that for most of us, we raise children based on what we know which primarily comes from our parents.  Depending on our parents, that could be a very good or very bad thing.  I would have been in the same situation had it not been for my professional experiences.  It’s also safe to say these same experiences have led me to raise my children much differently than had I only received the lessons from my mother.  My father was never in the picture and I do not have any siblings.

What I hope to accomplish in this book is two-fold.  The first is to bring you into my whirlwind of experiences.  They have made me the parent I am today.  Some of the chapters are meant to be funny while others are very serious.  I’d like to think all my experiences taught me a lesson.  Some of these lessons you may have already learned.  There may be others though you are not as familiar with and I may be helping you avoid some pitfalls.

The second accomplishment I’m striving for is to simply make you think.  You may come to the conclusion in the areas I’m going to talk about that you do a really good job and you wouldn’t change a thing.  If so, I’m thrilled.  We need lots more parents just like you.  Please pass the book along to someone you think needs some assistance or some reassurance.  This book doesn’t do anyone any good if it sits on a shelf.

If you think there are areas where you could improve, please use any ideas presented.  There is a saying that insanity is doing the same thing again and again while expecting a different result.   There are ways to have your children behave in a manner you see fit.  Hopefully, there will be a key in the book that will help you unlock that door.

Finally, if you are a parent who is struggling raising your kid, take a breath and relax.  It’s possible you are doing some things rights but the methods need a bit of tweaking.  Today is a new day so let’s go to work.  I would honestly find it hard to believe you are doing everything wrong.  Even if that were the case, reading this book tells me you’re attempting to change which is a good step to straightening things out.

As you read this book, you’ll find lots of quotes from people through many walks of life.  I choose the quotes based on many factors but the most notable reason is they made me think about my own parenting.  I’m sure I can be a better parent.  While researching material for this book, these quotes opened some mental doors for me.  I hope they do the same for you.

You’ll also find some confidential information in this book.  For that reason, I’ve changed the names and descriptions of certain people.  The point of the book is not to embarrass anyone.  But their stories and circumstances are compelling.  They will teach many important lessons.

Finally, I wish you well on the journey with your children.  Although legally speaking, it lasts 18 years, practically speaking, it lasts a lifetime.  I believe the greatest gifts you can pass along to your children are the values they subsequently pass along to their kids to make our world a better place.