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Host Garrison Keillor answers your questions about life, love, writing, authors, and of course, A Prairie Home Companion.

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October 30, 2007 | 3 Comments

Dear GK,
I have been a fan of the show since my folks started listening back in 1986. (I was 2 years old then.) I love the show and listen to it every weekend. About 2 months ago my life changed forever and I was blessed with a beautiful healthy baby boy. His name is Vincent and he is already quite the character. I know you too are a parent and have way more experience at this than I, this is my first child. I was wondering what your best advice for a new parent would be. Thank you for many years of wonderful stories.

Lexy Washburn
Amherst, OH

You've begun a story yourself, Lexy, and this one takes place in real time and it keeps going on, faster and faster. In no time, people will be saying, "I can't believe he's a year old!" And suddenly middle school. And college. And then you — young as you are — will become a — well, never mind. It goes by fast. There are bookstores full of books that are full of advice for parents. I think my wife bought twenty or thirty of them, and we could ship you a whole boxful if you like. My own advice to the parents is to take care of yourselves and put your life back together. Whatever you loved to do before, try to get back to it. A little boy needs to grow up in the midst of happiness so do what you can to make yourself happy. Get your exercise, eat well, enjoy your friends and family, get music into your life, and try to do some good in the world. And someday bring the boy to Minneapolis. The avenues of Minneapolis west of Lyndale are alphabetical, and part of the alphabet goes Russell, Sheridan, Thomas, Upton, Vincent, Washburn. I think that I once told a story in which there was a Vincent Washburn. And now you have, too.


Remembering to laugh at the journey's route is so totally needed and meaningful. Favour that child with a life that is wild within bounds of true love and respect of spiritual health. For the happy shall inerit the world in their minds and make greater peace in the world than there would be without. The answer that independent and personal goals of your own will make a happier home is real true. But most of all care to share your out-right affection in ways not of protection but growth.

As a mother of five and pre-school
teacher of many, I have one piece
of advice (given me by a wonderful
educator named Bev Bos) --
Love your child! Love him unconditionally,
and treat him as you would a friend.
Sometimes he'll say, "You're mean!"
When he does, he's really saying,"Are
you going to give me boundaries and
protect me?"
If I only knew then (when I raised kids
in the 70's and 80's) what I know now...

My husband and I have one child, a thirteen year old daughter. A friend gave us advice that has stuck with me all these years: "Don't rush." It is so very true.

Don't rush and savor the moments that are so fleeting: The first smile, the first crawl, the first time he sees a cat or dog, the first ice cream and the first spinach. (Make him try the spinach again.)

Don't rush to save the day. Let him find his way as long as he is safe.

Don't rush to conclusions. Discussion is good. Arguing is not.

Don't rush to be their friend but rather take the time to be the best parent(s) you can be. Establish rules, boundries and limits and stick with them. As your son gets older, he can be a part of this process. Some friends of ours tried to raise their children without any limits. Needless to say, the results have been disasterous.

Don't rush to judgement in regards to how your spouse acts with your child. Work as a unit--the 3 of you. It really works and it is vital that you and your husband are on the same page at least most of the time.

Don't rush to make every minute count. Take it slow. Children love consistency and they love to find their own patterns, rhthyms etc.

Don't rush, enjoy every minute with Vincent!

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