Recently many of us have sent our kids back to school, preparing our children with their new shoes, clothes, backpacks, lunch boxes and school supplies. But have we prepared them for the sometimes very cruel world they may encounter? Is there any way we can shelter our precious children from the insensitive nature of others? Do we have to sit idle with worry and fret in wait of the day they come home with hurt feelings or worse? How are your children ‘showing up’ in the world?
These are common feelings we have as loving parents, wanting to protect our children from any and all harm. The fact is that we cannot be with them 24/7 and therefore need to equip them with the tools to deal with many types of situations. It is our responsibility to also teach them compassion, kindness, tolerance and all the things that aren’t primarily taught in school. In teaching our children that they have a choice in how to respond to others, we can empower them with different options for different circumstances.
My two youngest boys are 9 and 10 years old, and are in fourth and fifth grade. When they get home from school, they like to share the happenings at school for that day. I’ve created a safe place for them to share their experiences and observations. Even if something they tell me is shocking or strikes a nerve in me, I remain calm, listen and ask some questions so I can see the big picture. We discuss how they handle situations and in some cases we explore how it could’ve been handled differently or with a better outcome. By taking this time with my children to empower them with new responses, options and ideas, I feel more confident that they can handle many different scenarios with grace. Of course they have their moments of overwhelm and sometimes don’t handle things in a thoughtful manner, but those are the sweet opportunities for growth and learning.
As important as it is for our kids to learn how to deal with bullies, it’s equally important that we teach them and show them how to be compassionate and kind. Teach them that when they see a child getting bullied, teased or sitting alone at lunch to reach out to them, stick up for them or go find help. Our children are smart and sensitive enough to recognize the feeling they get in the pit of their tummy or the ache in their heart when they see another child feeling lonely or sad. We need to let them know that when they feel that feeling for another child, that it is a signal to do something! And being that kind of kid is awesome!
It’s so sad to see our children being influenced by sassy kids on TV networks, and raised by parents that have forgotten the influence they have over their kids! Like the old saying “Monkey see, monkey do!”, our kids are watching our every move, they see the way you treat the waiter at the restaurant, the checker at the grocery store, the principal at the school, your parents and siblings and your friends. Do you treat everyone equally? Are you showing love, compassion and kindness to everyone? Do you gossip and put others down for what they wear or what they look like? Our kids are watching our every move…what are you showing them? Do you see them acting like you at times? What are your children’s actions telling you about yourself? In some cases it can be hard to see our kids picking up on our bad habits and manners, the good news is we can change that!
I realize none of us are perfect, so how about we strive for progress rather than perfection. Each and every little thing you do to move toward living and parenting from the heart will show up in how your children engage in relationships. When they see you treating people, animals and our planet with love and respect they will follow in your highly conscious footsteps! There is no one they would rather be like than YOU! What a special gift to give to our children and someday our children’s children as well as a gift to human kind.
“We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment, but it is transient. It is a little parenthesis in eternity. If we share with caring, lightheartedness and love, we will create abundance and joy for each other. And then this moment will have been worthwhile.” Deepak Chopra