Apr 152013

How to be a good parentHow to be a good parent is probably the most important question you’ll ever ask. It may well be the hardest job you will ever have—and the most rewarding, most fun, and most challenging.

Someone asked me the other day how I raised my children. My daughter and son are now fabulous parents themselves, blessing me with five beautiful grandchildren, and watching them brings back memories of their own childhoods and my parenting philosophy. It seems to have worked well for them, so I thought I would share it with you.

How to be a good parent can easily be summed up in six words—even though living it not as simple:

Love, Honor, Cherish, Nourish, Guide and Protect.

Love – unconditionally. Love them the way your Heavenly Father loves you. No matter how bad they may screw up, love them and let them know that you do. When children know they loved, they will grow up with a healthy self-image.

Honor – this may seem like a strange characteristic for parenting, but I’ve witnessed many parents who do not honor their children as the unique individuals they are. They try to mold their children into something the parent wants, not what the child was created to be. Honor your child and their ideas, their ambitions, their dreams.

Cherish – don’t ever forget that being a parent is a privilege (if you don’t believe this, ask someone who wants a child but it barren). Children are a gift from God. Treat them with respect and they will respect you. People cherish gifts of jewelry, or china, or art; children are the most precious gift you will ever have.

Nourish – You not only need to fill your child’s stomach with wholesome, nutritious food, you should do the same to satisfy their needs for spiritual feeding, emotional support, and mental stimulation. Meal times should be a time to accomplish all these goals—just sit around the dinner table, eat good food, talk about what’s going on their lives, and encourage them to share their accomplishments as well as their challenges.

Guide – You set the standards that your child will learn and follow. If you are slovenly and use foul language, don’t be surprised when you child does the same. If you are punctual, thrifty, and neat, your child will learn the same. Being a good example is the surest way to set high standards your child will want to emulate.

Protect – The main role of every species on the planet is to protect the young so that they grow into adulthood – and for us humans, that protection is not only for physical safety and security, it includes protection from the dark side of societal influences – violence on television, video games of destruction and annihilation, texting in lieu of conversational dialogue. Are you talking on the iPhone while driving your SUV full of kids?

Before you know it, you children will be grown and ‘out of the nest.’ Enjoy every moment you have with them; and please remember:

Love, Honor, Cherish, Nourish, Guide and Protect is how to be a good parent in every culture, every generation, everywhere.

Parenting Resources:

Get tips on how to be a good parent in the Story Time Blog, Tips for Parents and Teachers category

True Love for Me? helps children find love when their parents aren’t on top of their game.

Editor’s Note

Margery Phelps is a wonderful, energetic author, writing material to help parents learn to nourish their kids…literally. Mighty Me and the Rainbow Plate is a delightful book that teaches them to eat food the color of the rainbow. Harmony’s House is her free gift to children all over the world. Once you’ve read her books, you’ll join me in hoping she writes more, more, more! ~Denise Mistich


Margery Phelps

Born in Atlanta; majored in Journalism and Accounting in college; after my Mom was killed by prescription drugs for asthma in 1990 (yes, she was using them properly), I turned to my love of writing and research to understand why a brilliant medical and scientific illustrator could succomb to a medical treatment. Since then, I've published five books on health issues, in addition to a novel. I'm on a mission to improve the nutrition of children because prevention of disease starts at the mouth.