From Dr. Jane's Notebook

Keeping Step With Children

I am constantly amazed at how quickly children grow. One day they're learning to read, and the next thing you know, they're starting to date. The stages seem to fly by so quickly. It's a difficult task for the involved parent to keep up! Just as we find ourselves adjusting our entire life routine to accomodate one of our child's stages, they're through with it... and we are left wondering what happened, and even more terrifyingly...what's going to happen next!

It is indeed very difficult to see "the big picture" in our children's lives. But if we tune in on a regular basis, it can be very exciting to watch them grow. If we consider the things that children need in order to "grow well," the following ideas stand out:

One of my favorite places to observe my children grow is the local shopping mall. For it is here where one can observe childrens' struggles to understand our society. "The store" is where young children experience their true dependence and where they must rely upon the whims of parental mood for their ability to acquire the things they value. Here too, is where they first ask to go their separate way and "meet you back in half an hour" and where they interact with the world of sales people who teach them the meaning of the dollar.

Not long ago I was confronted by my children with that first move toward independence when they asked if they could venture ahead of me to the drug store. So lagging behind, I was afforded the pleasure of watching them, hand-in-hand, do their careful shopping and consumer training. When it came time for them to approach the cash register with dollar in hand, hoping that they would have enough money to succeed with the sales lady, I beamed as I watched them successfully handle this careful negotiation. When it was over, there was nothing that could compare with the look of satisfaction of their faces as they clutched their bags and receipts, now ready to summon me and the car. And as we left the store, I could imagine that years from now, when asked the question, "Where did you grow up?," I will hear them reply... "Eckerds."

ęCopyright 1995, Jane R. Rosen-Grandon. All rights reserved.

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Last Updated September 26, 1998 by Gary M. Grandon, Ph.D.