I love the Crosby, Stills, Nash, (and Young? I don’t know for this song) song “Teach the Children Well.” Here’s the You Tube video of it. It’s just mellow and nice. I’m reminded of it when I spend time with friends who I think are doing a good job raising their kids. They remind me to cultivate the things that I’d like to be more mindful of when I’m with my kids. Some highlights in no particular order.
- I have several friends who are super patient with their children. I love to see this modeled. I lose my patience frequently, but I have a couple of friends who never seem to raise their voices or get flapped by their children’s behavior.
- Getting out and playing. I’ve had an excuse–um, pregnant–to not run as much and then when I was recovering, I couldn’t play soccer or run. However, I have at least three friends whose kids are very athletic and the parents are great about playing basketball, soccer, or baseball with their kids (and mine) when we’re around. Honestly, now that the scar is healing, I’ve been able to push them on the swings, but I have to say, I also appreciate that when around friends.
- A “The Kids are All Right” attitude. The kids are probably fine. Yes, let’s check on them and guide them, but also, let’s have some adult conversation while the kids play. Let them open their imaginations to each other.
I’ve pressed the boys pretty hard the last couple of days. I’ve been going crazy cooped up in the house, so the second my driving restriction lifted, I had them out and about doing more things in a morning than one should attempt in two days! We’ve done play dates, the zoo, lunches, and dinners. I haven’t tried to take them to the grocery store, but I figure, one way to keep the house sort of clean is to keep all of us out of it. I think I’m teaching my kids to see their entertainment at home, because when we walk back in the door after a full morning, they play quietly and wonderfully for at least an hour.
Really, though, what I think most of us want to teach our children is pretty simple. I want my children to learn to deal with disappointments (in themselves and others) productively. To look at a situation and say, what can I learn from this so it doesn’t happen in the same way again. I want them to learn to control their behaviors so they don’t hurt themselves or someone else. I want them to learn to be active and have fun and to be quiet and enjoy that time too. I want them to respect their bodies’ abilities and limits and to work on stuffing as much as they want to learn into their cognitive processors. It would be nice if they still talk to me when they’re 30, but we’ve got a long way to go to get there.
If you are also a parent, and I know you, I think you’re doing a pretty good job.