What Were You THINKING!?!

Making wise choices comes about from experiences and practice as well as maturation.  In any situation, children see what they are focusing on.  It is only with growth and lessons learned that they begin to realize that there are consequences to every action.  They are usually as surprised as anyone else when things don’t go the way they pictured them in their head.  Being allowed to make their own decisions in a risk free situations encourages them to expand on the possibilities.  My granddaughter has said more than once, “I didn’t see that one coming.”  In reality, adults don’t either sometimes.  Not doing it again in that exact way is a learned lesson.

Actions, whether judged to be good or bad are best handled with a true, calm, question about the process of their thinking.  What were the steps?  Did you think that it might not go as planned?  Was there a risk and was the outcome worth it?  Discussion with children builds their self esteem and courage, reducing stress with decision making.

Teach Kids How,  a website for parents,  lists activities for teaching children early about making choices.  It must be a continuous process for them to become confident.

 

But  too often, a child’s mistakes have an impact on the parent.  Their behavior or choice may be an embarrassment.  It may cause more effort or work when their plate was already full.  They look at the child incredulously and ask in a questioning voice, “What were you THINKING!?!” Although it may sound like a question it really isn’t.  The parent probably is not in the mood to hear the answer.  The question is really a statement that says to the child, “You were not thinking at all.”  It is not a question but a condemnation of self.  mental abuseMany parents heard something similar when they were growing up.  “Are you crazy??” or “What are you? Stupid?” come to mind.  Past generations were not immune to this kind of questioning.  Many were raised this way as well and only through self reflection as parents will they realize it did not have a positive impact on them, either.  Children develop a fear of making decisions when their choices are wrong.  It becomes easier to say, “I don’t know.”

Karen Stephens contributing writer to childhoodexchange.com in her article, ‘Parents Are Powerful role Models for Children“, says “Being a positive role model requires fore-thought and self control. Today we talk a lot about disciplining our children. We parents need to put an equal emphasis on disciplining ourselves.”

Parenting must come from the heart to raise children who are confident, caring and loving.  Teach them to love themselves by loving, respecting and caring for yourself.  “Do as I say, not as I do.” was resented by every child who ever heard it.  It won’t work on your child either.  Don’t raise your children as you were raised without forethought as to how it affected you.  Keep the best learning experiences and discover new ways to interact with your child where you  were not positively affected by the lesson.  Structure and discipline can always come from love.

 

In Your Reflection, Do you see Love?

Chances are when you look in the mirror or see your reflection in the glass door entering a store, you check your hair, your outfit, or if you have just eaten, check for food between your teeth. At other times, you are watching yourself wash your face, shave, brush your teeth or hair- mostly with a critical eye. Few people I know can stand in front of the bathroom mirror and see love. I have practiced, but that practice takes diligence. Most of us were not raised to love ourselves- the selves of our heart. That was pride and not good. So now just looking without judgment is difficult. If I am not careful, I still look critically. Wrinkles worse? Eyes puffier? Face fatter? I avoid looking into my eyes unless I am concentrating on it. It is habit. It is what has been reinforced through social interaction. It is easier for me to close my eyes and feel with my heart. Have you heard messages like “the eyes are the gateway to the soul”? That reminds me that it is worthwhile to keep them open and to look deeper.

Yesterday on Facebook, there was a link to see what had become of child actors. There was a like- thumbs up button and a dislike, thumbs down at the top when I clicked to see the first one. By the second picture and comment it was clear that the whole thing was how unattractive they had become! I was about to hit the thumbs down button thinking it was to comment on the article that was criticizing the faces of all these people, when I realized you were to judge the people themselves! Thumbs down- you grew up to be an ugly adult. I was incredulous. Judgment from one snapshot and all these people had no trouble doing that. Even more incredulous. What a horrible way to use social media.

To clear this negativity that surrounds us, we have to persevere in loving our true selves and encouraging others to do the same. Respect, kindness, consideration, support, fun and pleasure come from love. We all have that within for ourselves and others. With those emotions that spring from love we find joy. Gratitude comes from love and brings happiness.   All bring peace.

reflectionSo back to your reflection. Can you look in the mirror, a glass door, a puddle, a pool and see your true self of God? Do you see love- respect, kindness, consideration, etc.? Are you joyful looking at you, not because your hair looks good or the pimple is gone, but because you see and feel love? Feeling good within your own body begins with loving yourself. Have you ever been praised for what you have accomplished and who you have become? Did you become someone new or are people just discovering what is awakening in you that was there all along? Are you discovering that as well? Loving yourself allows you to know yourself. It begins with love.

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.