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Parenting with a Story by Paul Smith

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SEVEN

Self-Reliance

Never trouble another for what you can do yourself.

—THOMAS JEFFERSON

For the first few years of our lives, we’re completely dependent on other people, particularly our parents. They feed us. They bathe us. They get us dressed in the morning and they put us to bed at night. It’s a lifestyle that’s easy to get used to. As a result, self-reliance is not something that comes very naturally to young people. But once they do learn it, it can become one of the most productive character traits they’ll ever possess. Just ask Steve Blair.

When Steve was nine years old, he was lucky enough to live only a couple of hundred yards from Fleetridge Elementary School, where he attended fourth grade in Raytown, Missouri, about ten miles ...

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