Model What You Want Them To Be

Today I am borrowing from a much wiser and well known writer to help convey an important parenting concept.  If like me, you grew up hearing “Do as I say not as I do,”  and tried that as a way of parenting, you probably have already discovered that it doesn’t work.  Integrity is a much better basket to put your eggs in.  Kids today see through anything less.  Being the role model you want for them, empowers you as well.

Dr. Wayne Dyer

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Wayne’s Weekly Wisdom “If you model self-pride and self-worth for your children, they will in turn leave the nest with an absence of stress and turmoil for all concerned.”

I have the following saved on my desktop because it profoundly demonstrates the importance of our awareness of our own behavior.  I notice too much explosive behavior, loss of control, and spewed anger that is justified with ridiculous excuses that make perfect sense to the person explaining them.   Is society becoming numb to inexcusable behavior? Parents and other relatives of children are their role models and need to be cognizant of their actions at all times.

This was Wayne’s last Facebook post.

I was preparing to speak at an I Can Do It conference and I decided to bring an orange on stage with me as a prop for my lecture. I opened a conversation with a bright young fellow of about twelve who was sitting in the front row.

“If I were to squeeze this orange as hard as I could, what would come out?” I asked him.

He looked at me like I was a little crazy and said, “Juice, of course.”

“Do you think apple juice could come out of it?”

“No!” he laughed.

“What about grapefruit juice?”

“No!”

“What would come out of it?”

“Orange juice, of course.”

“Why? Why when you squeeze an orange does orange juice come out?”

He may have been getting a little exasperated with me at this point.

“Well, it’s an orange and that’s what’s inside.”

I nodded.

“Let’s assume that this orange isn’t an orange, but it’s you. And someone squeezes you, puts pressure on you, says something you don’t like, offends you. And out of you comes anger, hatred, bitterness, fear. Why? The answer, as our young friend has told us, is because that’s what’s inside.”

It’s one of the great lessons of life. What comes out when life squeezes you? When someone hurts or offends you? If anger, pain and fear come out of you, it’s because that’s what’s inside. It doesn’t matter who does the squeezingyour mother, your brother, your children, your boss, the government. If someone says something about you that you don’t like, what comes out of you is what’s inside. And what’s inside is up to you, it’s your choice.

When someone puts the pressure on you and out of you comes anything other than love, it’s because that’s what you’ve allowed to be inside. Once you take away all those negative things you don’t want in your life and replace them with love, you’ll find yourself living a highly functioning life.

Thanks, my young friend, and here’s an orange for you!

I was impressed with Wayne’s understanding and explanation that negativity within is a choice.    Choose peace, calm, patience  and love and you and everyone around you benefits.

 

 

 

Kids Can Follow the Mindful Path to Peace and Joy

Can your kids be quiet and be IN quiet without getting antsy?  One kid very dear to my heart has a hard time in the car with nothing to do.  “I’m bored!  There is nothing to do!” is a constant complaint.  My response, “We are doing something, we are having a conversation,” for some reason has no impact on the perceived dilemma.   If this sounds familiar, I wrote about this several months ago, in “Too Much Boredom”.  In the blog, I wrote, “Time not doing is time for being, but it has to be taught, even if it was a skill with which we were born. Bored children need to learn to treasure down time to charge that personal energy, strength and connection to the source of light within and overcome doubts and fears. Constantly active kids need quiet time as well, because all children need the connection with self and God to reduce ego and build their loving self, becoming compassionate caring people with a sense of oneness with others. It is a package deal as they best learn from modeling you.”

Mindfulness was mentioned in the article and deserves much more consideration.mindfulness5  It not only has to be taught it has to be practiced.  Its value is addressed by Jon Kabut- Zinn.

“It’s about living your life as if it really mattered, moment by moment by moment by moment.”

“Of course my life matters”, you might say, but how often do you actually think about it?  Do you value the moments in your life or allow them to slide by without any focus? mindfulness7It is easy to lose connection with the moments when you are checking off the many items on each daily to- do list.  That is why it is important to stop, breathe deeply and bring yourself back to the moment from time to time.

Mindfulness practice is valuable in controlling thoughts.  And of course, to teach your children, you need to do it yourself as well.  This is one of those things that you might not do for yourself but will do for your children and gain personal growth, peace and empowerment in the process.

“The purpose of teaching mindfulness to our children is to give them skills to develop their awareness of their inner and outer experiences, to recognize their thoughts as “just thoughts,” to understand how emotions manifest in their bodies, to recognize when their attention has wandered, and to provide tools for impulse control. mindfulness6 It is not a panacea, and it will not completely get rid of what is, frankly, normal kid behavior, like tantrums and loudness and whining and exuberance and arguing…” wrote Sarah Rudell Beach in  “8 Ways to Teach Mindfulness to Kids”

Mindfulness gives all of us including our children, power.  Controlling thoughts by releasing thoughts, keeping thoughts positive, focusing on what needs to be done, and regulating emotions is powerful and can begin to be learned at an early age.  Mindfulness helps with impulse control and assists children in refraining from speaking and acting out uncontrollably, something some adults could use as well.

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I will write on this again, but don’t wait, check out these links for yourself!

http://thehawnfoundation.org/mindup/

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu

http://www.childmind.org/en/posts/articles/2012-4-9-power-of-mindfulness

 

 

 

10 Ways to Help Children Face Negative Emotions and Find Happiness

Worry, doubt, fear, sadness and poor self esteem don’t belong in children. Adults either. But we expect children to be happy and playful and full of joy. How do they take on so much negativity at such a young age? Although it is assumed that traumatic experiences are the cause, more often than not, it is something much smaller that can cause a personality to wither with no one the wiser.

During a study of key life influences, I remembered one such account when I was five or six. The den in my family home had a bay window and I had been told not to climb on it. However it was very tempting. It was my very own dance stage! I don’t remember anything in my way. Perhaps I didn’t see it as an obstacle, but the Victorian lamp that probably had been passed down through the family, hit the floor. My distraught mother cried and cried. Why couldn’t I listen? What was the matter with me? How often scenes like this happen in family life. Frustrated parents lose it and yell, something they wish they could take back. But the child gets over it and life goes on. All is well. But is it? My little self perceived an unbelievable fact that day. Lamps and other things are much more important than me. It was my first encounter with not being worthy. I began practicing playing small. My mother always thought that I had a hard time adjusting to school and that was why I became more quiet and subdued. She would have been devastated to know that her reaction to a broken lamp had that kind of impact.   I discovered this about myself in my sixties and have pondered the unknown affects I may have inadvertently caused for my children and grandchildren. But the reality is that what took place took place in my brain.

The brain chooses how it will react to situations, and that reaction becomes an emotion. Each human being has a multitude of interactions and experiences some of which trigger negative emotions while others do not. Protecting children from experiences is not possible, nor healthy. If they don’t learn to deal with small things, they will have no skills for dealing with larger ones. Research has shown that over protective parenting leaves children vulnerable when they grow and leave home. They are used to their parents as their life shield. They feel exposed and worried. Rather than hovering, or feeling guilty for our own emotions, adults can teach kids how to handle situations that have triggered negative emotions of fear, self -loathing, sadness, feeling unworthy or unloved. People expect children to “get over it” when many adults do not have that capacity either. They hold grudges, blame, show anger, or are willing to let go of relationships rather than deal with the emotions, or “get over it” themselves.   happiness

So how do we help kids deal with negative emotions in their life and be happy?

  1. Appreciate having them in your life and teach them to love and value themselves.
  2. Acknowledge their feelings and give them an opportunity to talk often.
  3. Value their concerns and commend their efforts to deal with them.
  4. Assure them they are surrounded by God’s love and His protective angels; they are never alone.
  5. Teach them to communicate with God. Listening to the answers in their heart is just as important as talking.
  6.  Be grateful and practice daily gratitude with them.
  7. Guide with questions rather than tell them how to handle their emotions.
  8. Show them forgiveness and an ability to take responsibility for your own actions so they can model you. Children need to forgive themselves.
  9. Prove that joy can be found most anywhere (without medications, alcohol or drugs).
  10. Help them to choose happiness for what they have in the present.

All experiences in life offer choices. Kids need to learn that so they avoid feeling powerless. Imagine if you or I learned this as children!

Just As I Am

 

When I was a kid, we played outside all the time. None of the kids were the same ages and it didn’t matter. We had a set of swings, a baseball diamond, and at night we played hide and seek after dark and caught fireflies in our hands. Mostly we rode bikes.   My brother was on the local baseball team and I kept score. He was a good ball player, so I remember good times, except for the coach’s son- he got screamed at constantly. I think back now that it must have been a difficult time, and wonder if even as good as he became, he ever enjoyed it.

A young man special to me has spent the entire baseball season in the outfield or on the bench. Because another child didn’t come to the next to last game, he was put on third base and he was awesome! For the last game, he returned to the bench or played right field. His spirit is gone as is that of the other 4 or 5 boys that have spent the season on the bench or outfield. They won’t return next year because it isn’t fun, and they are not as good as the others. It is easy to complain and place blame, but we all know that it happens.   If we are honest, we probably would say that those kids weren’t there because it was what they wanted in their heart. Maybe a parent wanted them to do something, or they wanted to be like someone else, or be with someone else who played. A few may be living their dream and struggling with realizing that dream. Whether it is baseball, or dance, gymnastics, or playing an instrument, few start out being as good as they expected. Immediate gratification is not available and practice is a necessity.

like you love yourself@funnyand.comThrough the struggles of learning something new, and dealing with a reduced self- confidence, children need the reminders of who they are. Encourage them to keep spiritual pride while going through the steps of achievement by reminding them of all their previous successes.   Some things may come easier than others, but they need to believe in themselves and give gratitude for each step forward which will help them to stay focused. In “The Trick to Raising Kids Who Love Themselves” By Dr. Sherrie Campbell she says,” If we are not happy with what we see in our children, in terms of attitude, responsibility and being grateful, then we have to look deeply at ourselves and what we are modeling for them.”

One of personal favorite poems from My Loving Self and Me ends,

I will strive to be the best me I can be,

And always along the way,

Love me just as I am.

Confidence and self love are crucial to trying new things because there is nothing at stake. They don’t have to win. They don’t have to be the best. They do it because it brings joy.

 

Kids Need to Learn to Be. Be What? At Peace With Themselves.

Gram looked up from her cup of tea. “There are many things to do! But you don’t have to always do something. You can just be.”

Gabby looked at her grandmother “Be what?” she asked.

“You don’t have to be something. Just be you! Bring your Loving Self as close as you can. Forget about all the outside things your ‘all about me’ self is involved with, and wants to do.” imagesQMP5XHRX

Gram took another sip of tea, “At first you might need to lie down, or close your eyes, or be in a quiet space. Then just be.

Kids need to learn to be at peace with themselves, to think by themselves, to love themselves. We all need to let go, breathe deeply and be one with quiet. As I sit here in the moment, I feel a breeze on my face, the rustle of leaves, a distant boat and many birds. I am grateful for all of it, but I had to learn to be.  In an article in the Huffington Post, this is also called mindfulness training.

In a world of TV, video games, email, Instagram and phones that do it all, sitting alone has changed. More and people are not participating in the events they go to, much less spend quiet time with their thoughts. It is an easy change, but takes some effort.

So why should kids (and you) learn to be at peace with yourself? My first thought is to find out who you are. Sure you know what you think you think but is that really you? Do you sound like your mother? Grandmother? Best friend? Discovering that many of “my” beliefs weren’t mine at all, was a huge surprise.  Here I am defending what I believe to be true and I never considered whether I really believe that. Think that is ludicrous? Try it! Analyze your strong beliefs. What do you defend to the nth degree? Any chance someone else’s points might be valid? You will never know if you don’t take time to think about it in the quiet and from your heart. Many of your beliefs were set while you were a young child. Many of those beliefs you have already passed on to your children and they aren’t even yours!

Prayer and meditation are valuable in connecting with God, your creator. Connection beyond one’s self helps children as well as adults stay centered and grounded and with that comes power- not over someone or something else, but from within, a feeling that all things are possible. One of the first affirmations I learned was from Tony Robbins, “All I need is within me now.” That is powerful!meditating 8yr old

During peace and quiet times, gratitude can flourish if children are taught to make it a part of their daily thoughts. It is a frame of mind that once learned reduces negativity, fear, judgment and criticism. Positivity becomes the primary thought process. With gratitude comes joy. With joy, their ‘all about me’ self, your ego diminishes bringing you and them closer to peace.

Children can also be taught to set intentions, like a to-do list for a way of being.   Rather than, ‘I will make my bed’, it might be, ‘I will be kind and helpful to my sister.’ Just being alone in quiet is a perfect time for this! They can call it their ‘to be” list!

Quiet time, just being time allows children to learn to appreciate themselves as well. Quiet alone time can be used for ‘What I love about me’. Gram told the children in the story “Just Being” that by loving themselves as God loves them, they are showing appreciation for the gifts He gave them. She also recommended that they thank Him for things they don’t quite believe are true yet because the more they think it and say it, the sooner they will believe in themselves.

Contentment comes with just being which leaves boredom out of their vocabulary. Now that is truly a gift!