Alike on the Inside

 

There are moments when I regret some of the teaching strategies that were used in the seventies in reading. As I look back I remember a lot of emphasis on compare and contrast, finding same and different, and although there is a component of importance I often wonder if it has also played a role in the comparisons people make with each other.

About 30 years ago, a moment in time that taught me a huge lesson about myself, I was walking out of McDonald’s with my 4 year old. In front of us was a mixed race couple with their young daughter. My daughter blurts out, “Mommy look!” and points at their child. Embarrassed, I shushed her, then leaned down and told her to be quiet and hurried her to the car. By the time we got there she was in tears. “Mommy”, she cried. “Why wouldn’t you look at that little girl’s Miss Piggy glass?”

I was shocked at myself. I noticed the different colors of the family members, 10360543_1398844150439652_6293205814907425549_nand worried because my daughter was drawing attention to them. My four year old noticed another little girl like her, who loved Miss Piggy.

Isn’t there too little of seeing the likenesses we share? After all, isn’t that how we choose with whom we spend our time? Or do we choose who we don’t want around because of their differences? There is so much negative energy everywhere! Children see it in facial expressions, and hear it in words. They pick up on sarcasm, and jokes and soon believe it is OK to react that way. They may try it themselves and be sternly corrected, but they don’t get the mixed message. There is always a conflict for kids when they are told one thing but something else is demonstrated when adults think they are not watching. They learn from watching and copying. tsa-usa.org

In the chapter titled God’s Specially Wrapped Gifts in My Loving Self and Me, I wrote about differences of all kinds and explained that God wraps us all differently so that we can tell each other apart, because unlike Him we don’t recognize us by our Loving Selves. In the story Gram tells the children, “God wants us to look at each other with the same excitement we feel whenever we receive presents. And we need to look for the present inside!” Our souls, true selves, authentic selves, higher selves, our loving selves, whatever you call it, have no skin color, hair color, eye color, height, weight, or anything else to be compared. Inside is love energy, in each one. Sometimes it is hard to find while with others it is right there for all to see and enjoy.

I read on PBS Parents, in a section called Inclusive communities several articles on this topic. One titled “The Power of Words”, wrote about “people first language” when speaking- a boy with red hair, the girl that uses a wheelchttps://mylovingselfandme.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post-new.php#titledivhair. The race, color, disability are secondary. In this article and another “Respecting Differences: Everyday Ways to Teach Children About Respect” the focus is on teaching kids to respect themselves and everyone else. My Loving Self and Me does too.

There are far more likenesses within us than differences. The likenesses are what connect us in oneness and yet too often there is disconnect, because the differences are the focus. Respect people as people first- all the descriptions are secondary. Children are born seeing the likenesses. They don’t need to be taught that differences are anything but a way for us to tell each other apart.

 

Is the Boogie Man Still Under Your Bed?

Fear is so debilitating and yet right around the corner for many. The first real genuine pain in my chest fear I remember was of Captain Hook. I remember “watching” Peter Pan from behind the couch in complete fear. I don’t remember being afraid of the dark, but of being alone. At night I did not like being by myself in the bedroom and often wished I had a sister to share the room with me.

I can’t recall how I handled fears with my children as it seems to have escaped my memory. fear6However, I noticed with my grandchildren the many warnings they got from their father who would have been more comfortable wrapping them in bubble wrap to keep them safe. Then I caught myself doing the same, as well as their mother so that, “Be careful” was a common warning. So perhaps it is a good assumption that I was a protective mother.

The question in my mind, watching grandchildren go through fears, has been whether it is natural or do we as adults create it in our protectiveness? According to Consistent-parenting-advice.com, “Over protective parents create continuous situations from which their children struggle to escape, until eventually there is no escape as the fears have become part of the patterned response for their child’s way of thinking.”

fear4Almost everyone has worries and fears that hold them back and perhaps those of adults came from their childhood too. The first step is to recognize them. Since finding my spirituality the thought that reduces the fear is that I am where I am meant to be, experiencing what I am supposed to experience, and that God my creator is in control. Although that is perhaps a bit to convey to children, the next step is much easier. I visualize angels surrounding me and keeping me safe. That part, and talking to their guardian angels, kids accept more easily. Although they tell me they do it all the time, my grandchildren love when I call on the angels on their behalf. Knowing they are not alone, but surrounded by supportive, loving angels, helps many of us, young and old alike leave fears behind.

Fears become so much a part of life that it becomes easy to disregard what has been given up. fear5It limits our experiences socially, emotionally, physically and psychologically without realization. It is easier to not be interested than to admit that it is fear based.   In helping children deal with challenges, adults need to focus on the fact that childhood is cumulative experiences leading to maturity and adulthood. Consistent-parenting-advice.com suggests the best way to do that is to become a “submarine parent” “remain out of sight, yet able to pop up in the case of an emergency.”

fear9“In order to become responsible, confident, assertive, independent adults, children need opportunities to explore their environment both physically and emotionally without continuous interference from their parents.”

Adults that are around children, whether their own or someone else’s can use that time, to consider their own fears and evaluate what they are giving up in “feeding them”.   What opportunities have been let go by unrecognized fear? What opportunities can become available again once that is understood? Experience new things daily by taking on your fears and passing that on to those around you!