Published June 2016: on Momiverse.com, Dr Laura.com and Hitched.com.
Raising Compassionate, Mindful, Global citizens!
I hate to scare you, Mums, but being a mother is the ultimate job of a lifetime. This is your chance to make an impact, a difference in the world, all while creating a unique and special bond for eternity.
A child is so much more than the sweet helpless one-year old you swaddle in your arms – with those gorgeous doe eyes that gaze up into yours for security, love and guidance. This is a beautiful soul – watching and listening to the person he or she trusts the most – you!
You are his or her lifeline and first role model. I’m not suggesting you put on your crown and robe and start prancing around like the queen of England. This is not about control. It’s about bringing out the best in humanity.
I’m a mother of four – two from my very own body and two older stepchildren. The rules of engagement are different for both sets, but the underlying values are the same.
Own being a mother like a warrior with confidence and self-respect. If you want to raise your child to own their own actions, they need to become independent, creative thinkers. Teach your child to own their place in the world by following your lead.
Your responsibility to your offspring is to nurture and guide them within the protection and support of your love, because the truth is:
Children find in the eyes of their parents the mirror in which they define themselves. Fill them with nothing and they become nothing.–William Galser, psychologist
Prepare your child for a global society with the following Own it feel it Live it guiding principles. With these principles, no matter what situation they encounter, your children will have the strength and know-how to endure and succeed in a compassionate, mindful, manner.
1. Set safe boundaries.
Kids feel safer when you set boundaries. As your child tests you, he is really testing his place in the world. He is testing your ability to stay rational and present. You are not your child’s best friend. You are the one safe place where your child can find love, truth, and trust.
2. Instill confidence.
Trust your own intuition and choices, but most importantly your child’s abilities and choices. A person can only feel confident if they are given the chance to test their place in the world, explore and try new challenges, so your child can feel capable. Be patient! Engage your child in activities so he can gain strength and knowledge through real-life, everyday experiences – whether it’s making a smoothie that ends up as an artistic wall covering or picking up leaves all over the yard after a storm. Be your child’s cheerleader and let he or she own the experience so he can feel self-respect, capable, accomplished.
Without these experiences of failure and success, your child may think, “Why bother? They don’t believe I can do anything!” Give your child the confidence to avoid becoming a slacker, living off mom and dad for eternity. No, thank you!
3. Nurture success and support individuality.
Children want and need to be productive and valuable members of society. Your role is to create an environment where your child feels his life has meaning and what she has to contribute has value. I’m not suggesting false praise, but rather genuine validation for success. Be present. Listen to what’s important to them, so they feel significant. Don’t judge prematurely. It’s your child’s unique gifts the world needs next, not yours. Let go and encourage your child to be curious, ask questions, and own the outcome with pride and passion.
4. Encourage conversation and eye contact.
Have lots of conversations with your children. Remember the quote “fill them up,” well, I wasn’t referring to just food! It’s only through the simple act of conversation that a child learns interpersonal skills. Ban the electronics from the table and teach your children how to have eye contact, listen, exchange ideas, and respect their own and other opinions. Ultimately, the art of conversation gives a child and your future global citizen assurance that they do have a voice and the freedom to express their own feelings, ideas, and needs!
If you encourage your child to be the author of their own life, they stand a good chance of being effective, happy, healthy members of society. Most importantly, they become the best version of themselves, and in turn, you!
Own it, Feel it, Live it, and Take Pride in Raising a Valuable Global Citizen!
Diane Danvers Simmons