Dispatches: How We Give Advice To Our Kids

We parents have lived long enough by now, and gone through enough ups and downs, not to mention more than a few movements sideways, to have accumulated the odd nugget of advice. Now, in the spirit of redistributing the wealth, we’ve decided it’s time to share.

Georgie Bright Kunkel, a 90-year-old former school teacher in Seattle, wrote a letter to her adult children about her shifting role as a mother. “No longer is my hand on the helm,” so to speak,” she writes. “It is time for you to set your own course.” Still, she lays out some common sense pointers. Example: “If we sometimes disagree, we can do so with dignity.” She also makes her case for her children staying connected to her. “By staying close as a family,” she ventures, “we can go beyond ourselves and become something we might not otherwise have been.” http://www.westseattleherald.com/2012/03/05/opinion/letter-adult-children

Professor Jonathan Jansen of the University of the Free State in South Africa has written about life lessons in letters to his two children on Twitter. Inspired by poet Maya Angelou’s “Letter To My Daughter,” he compiled his twittering in a book, “Letters To My Children: Tweets To Make You Think.” “Never under any circumstances become a politician,” he urges. “Choose public service instead.” http://www.amazon.com/Letters-Children-Tweets-Think-ebook/dp/B007KYFYAA

Marian Wright Edelman wrote letters to her three adult sons that she turned into a book called “The Measure Of Our Success: A Letter To My Children And Yours.” A long-time social activist, she founded the Children’s Defense Fund, a Washington, D.C.-based research and advocacy organization. Edelman counsels, “We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences that we can make which, over time, add up to the big differences that we often cannot foresee.” http://www.harpercollins.com/browseinside/index.aspx?isbn13=9780060975463

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