I'm a day or two off from the BufBloPoFo schedule, but this only occurred to me today:
I spoke with a friend this afternoon who is facing some difficult decisions in his life in the coming months. He told he was concerned that our friendship might be damaged by his choices. This was my answer:
"You decide what is right for you. Let what other people think be damned. If you feel that you are making the best choice for yourself, then your true friends will stand by you no matter what. And I will be there whenever you need me."
It occurred to me that this translates into my belief system for my children. This is the single best advice I can think of for parents:
You love your children like nothing else on this earth. Every decision you make affects their well being. Never let what other people think of your decisions affect how you make them. Taking people's advice is one thing, but caving in to other people's opinions of how you should raise your kids only serves to create self-doubt in your ability to be a good parent. And every parent knows that your kids see cracks in the armor better than your worst enemy.
Easier said than done? Surely. We lost some very dear friends for three years for this very reason. Thankfully, time heals all wounds (except dismemberment or losing an eye), and we resolved our differences. Now we vacation together.
It also helps that they supply me with snacks and treats.