4 TRU Parenting Principles Taught by Abraham Lincoln

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abe lincoln graphicThere are incredible parenting truths in some of the oddest places. I’ve found that some of the most profound principles in the pages of novels, and children’s books. I’ve found reminders and aha moments in pulling weeds, tying shoes and or cleaning out my car. So often we only look for parenting helps, concepts and techniques in “parenting books” and forget that parenting is just living, with more focused attention and intention. For this reason, we can find valuable gems of truth in quotes from great men and women of the past, no matter their intended audience.

When I read a quote that resonates with me, I always ask myself, “Does this help me to be TRU? Does it help me better Teach my children something valuable? Does it help me build stronger Relationships with my kids? Lastly, Does it help me Upgrade myself? If it meets TRU criteria, it is a parenting quote, as much as anything is.

Today is the birthday of President Abraham Lincoln. The following four quotes, are statements that have taught or reminded me of important TRU parenting principles that will always serve us well with our children.

“No man is good enough to govern another man (or child) without that other’s consent.” –Abraham Lincoln

Discipline is not a practice of control but rather a practice of inspiration and persuasion. To Teach a child a particular value, virtue or skill is always more productive when they are on your side. I often encourage parents to set regular opportunities to teach during the good times and focus all discipline on teaching rather than punishing them. The object of discipline is to instill something of value rather than make the child feel miserable.

Whatever you are, be a good one.” –Abraham Lincoln

I love this because Honest Abe doesn’t tell us what to do, just to commit and do the best we can. Modeling healthy living, strong work ethic and courage to chase excellence liberates our children to do the same. Seeking improvement in the areas of our life we have chosen to pursue, teaches our children patterns that lead to greater happiness and long term growth.

“If you would win a man (or child) to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend.” –Abraham Lincoln

People are always debating whether parents should be their kid’s parent or their friend. I would always say both and would argue that it’s pretty hard to truly do one without the other. Our influence is so much greater when our children know that they are loved and that we are genuinely interested in them. They are more likely to feel sincerely loved and valuable if we create reasonable limits and put boundaries in place. The relationship between these two principles is synergistic. It’s a marriage of two healthy principles or patterns.

“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” –Abraham Lincoln

When I teach parenting classes, I ask parents to consider their “APP’s” when evaluating and improving their own level of happiness. APP’s stands for Attitude, Perspective and Programming. As President Lincoln points out, one of the most important elements of Upgrading our own thinking and ultimately our happiness, is simply to make the conscious decision to be positive and happy. Positive attitude, empathetic perspective and mindful programming can allow us to take control of our own happiness rather than becoming victim to circumstance. The old saying goes, “If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” Upgrading our own personal happiness can have a powerful effect on our children and our whole life!

Question: Which of these quotes resonates with you most? Why?

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