~Hodding Carter, Jr.
One of the most rewarding and challenging experiences we can have in our lifetime is raising children. Not only is it a time that we can impart our life-wisdom onto them, but they also become our greatest teachers. Through the lives and growth of our children, we learn and grow.
Over the years, I’ve had the humble pleasure of talking to and counseling many parents and their children. The following is what I know to be true about how you make a difference in the life of your child.
Your children need your love and attention. Now I know this may sound like common sense, but I want to stress this because we, as parents get caught up in our own day-to-day lives of work, outside stressors and our own issues. We know we love our children and we think because we live in the same house, we pay the bills and we have the title of Dad or Mom, the kids automatically know we love them too. The way a child knows and feels that he/she is loved is by you giving them your time and your attention. Now that’s very easy when the children are behaving, but it becomes even more important when your children are challenging. This is when unconditional love is shown. These are the moments your children will remember. Children just want to be loved, heard and know that they matter, so tell your children you love them every day, listen to what they have to say and show them they are important to you.
Each child has his/her own path to follow. All of us have dreams for our children…what we would like to see them accomplish, the type of person we want them to settle down with, etc. The reality is, my dear parents, those are our dreams, not our children’s dreams. Each and every living soul has their own journey to follow and your child’s dreams, desires and wishes may be vastly different than yours. That does not mean either of you are wrong. You’re just different. Learn to embrace and encourage your child’s individual path. Allow them a safe space to be their true self and by doing this, you will nurture their self- esteem and give them permission to stand strong in who they are.
Your children have unlimited potential. There are plenty of people out there that will try and tell your children who they can or cannot become. Society will try and put your child in a box by saying because you look like this, or you come from this place, there are only so many things you can do in this life. Don’t be one of those people. Let your children know they have unlimited potential. It doesn’t matter where you’ve been, all that matters is where you’re going. Parents, please give your children the permission to see beyond their experiences and know that the world is their playground and they can create whatever life they choose. Let your children know they have your support and guide them to follow their inner compass that will lead them to their biggest dreams.
You are your child’s teacher, whether you choose to be or not. Everything you do has significance and your children are watching your every move. They are watching, listening and internalizing how you solve problems, how you interact with others, your work ethic, everything you do. As your children get older, they may not do things exactly as you did, but they have internalized your pattern and made it their own. I’ve spoken with too many young men who have said they would not live past their 25th birthday. Somewhere in their young lives, this has been the example set for them which they have come to believe as their reality. It is not enough to talk about the right thing to do. Your children follow by example, so be a model for them that is physically and emotionally healthy, inspiring and loving. Now I know it’s tough to compete with all the other information our kids are receiving from their friends and in the media. However, if you can consistently affirm and show your children that they are important, their potential is unlimited, they have a purpose on this planet and they are unconditionally loved, this is what they will remember. Those are the seeds that will become rooted and grow in your child’s life.
Parents, your home is the ultimate classroom. What are you teaching?
Susan Thomas, Master Certified Coach, www.thesoulutioncoach.com
Have a challenging life question? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.