Living in the here and now, parenting, Teaching Kindness, Teaching Respect

Kindness to an Ant Can Mean So Much

I recently came across a young elementary school-aged child and mother walking on a path by a lake. The mother was repeatedly calling her child to join her further up the way however the child appeared not to hear the mother’s requests and continued to step on ants on the path. As the mother’s voice tone became increasingly frustrated, she retreated to gain her child’s attention. When approached by the mother who asked about the delay, the child simply replied, “I have to kill them all” and continued stepping on ants. I was hopeful when I saw the mother approaching she would take this opportunity to teach her child something about nature and how we all live on this planet together. Instead, the mother said okay and watched as her child continued to kill bugs. After another minute passed the child tired of the activity and they both quietly walked on down the path.

I must say this scene stunned and saddened me. This little moment probably would not be thought about by either child or mother again, and here it remained on my mind for the rest of my walk. This was just a moment but a significant one in which the mother could have shared a thought about gentleness, kindness, respect, and the care for creatures of all sizes. Instead, it became a missed opportunity.

Parents teaching their children well about nature and their place in this world is a necessary part of parenting as it relates to so many other skills, some of which include sharing, taking the perspective of others, and thinking about consequences of actions. Talking about your beliefs in these moments lays the foundation for future more significant moments such as how to treat family pets and even other human beings. We know it is essential for children to understand other points of view as they learn about their place in a family, school, community and the world. By paying attention to these little moments, parents will find they will have fewer big moments to manage. No parent wants to learn their child took something that did not belong to them or their child bullied a peer. Teaching a foundation of respect, kindness, and gentleness starting with an ant will pay dividends down the line.

Living in the here and now, living with intention, parenting

Fresh Eyes

We are all looking to find balance in our lives, families, and homes. Given our busy schedules, it is more important than ever to set ourselves up to build successes in our daily lives. When parenting, an essential component to creating more successes centers on the need to understand the difference between a parental expectation and a privilege in your home. Spending time to talk with your partner about this concept will be rewarding and prevent needless disagreements.

If you have not had this discussion, merely take a few minutes for each of you to list what you consider to be reasonable expectations as well as appropriate privileges for your child. Then come together and listen to each other without interruption or judgment. Take some time away from this subject to contemplate and come back later to discuss. It is hoped that going through this simple exploration will lead you as parents to a clearer understanding of how you each see expectations and privileges. You may not see common ground in all aspects but do not despair. This does not prevent you from beginning to create your family expectations and privileges list on all that you can agree upon. Armed with this knowledge, begin to teach your child about what you have decided to be important in your family/home.

Whatever you and your parenting partner have decided upon is a great start! Do your best to teach expectations well through consistent words/ actions and clearly define what privileges look like in your home. Please see below for some examples to get you started😊.