Our kids are like little sponges. From the first breath, they are learning about the world at light speed.
Every day my kiddos surprise me with a new pearl of wisdom. They pick up so many details, it astounds me (and usually makes me laugh.)
Which got me thinking.
As parents, we spend a lot of time teaching our little ones the basics and as they get older, we focus on certain essentials so they'll be successful in school and then in a career.
But in reality, there's more to life than math, english, science etc. There's more to learn in order to be happy, well rounded and fulfilled.
There is also learning...
- how to love
- how to listen to instinct
- how to dream
- how to comfort
- how to ask for help
- how to recognize and eliminate toxic people or habits
- how to grieve
- how to keep going after defeat
These life skills are just as essential as knowing how to spell or count. So why are we simply "hoping" that life will teach these concepts? We should be actively teaching these skills...and starting fairly early.
I had a moment where I was having some trouble with work, and was very frustrated. My 2 year old came over to me and asked if I was sad. My initial response was to smile and I was about to tell her that I was fine when she put her hand on my cheek, looked in my eyes and told me that she loved me. And then she climbed into my lap and hugged me.
I was speechless.
I realized that she was responding to my sadness and struggle the very same way that I approach her when she's upset. She was empathetic and comforting. I've never sat down to "teach" her what to do when someone is sad but clearly, she has been taking it in since day one.
That day, with me, she got to practice empathy. She got a chance to give comfort to someone else...at just 3 years old!
If I had hid my true feelings from her, I would have robbed her of that experience.
It is so tempting, as parents, to protect our children from everything in life that is sad, scary or tough. We want them to have a happy childhood full of joy and love and laughter. We also want to give them their best chance at a happy life.
That means letting them see how to handle the tough stuff too. Instead of hiding the hard moments, we can show our children how to work hard, how to fail, how to deal with disappointment and how to get back on the horse. If we let them see how to handle all of the kinds of moments that life will throw their way, they will be equipped to cope and thrive.
If you feel compelled to hide emotional experiences from your kids - ask yourself why. Is it not age appropriate or is it because you feel uncomfortable? Did your parents hide these kinds of tough moments from you when you were younger? These kinds of self assessments might help you decide if it's valuable to let your kids see or wait until another day.
If we want our children to learn from our mistakes and rise above the challenges that life dishes out...we have to be an example and let them see how we did it.
Sending you 💗💗💗 today Momma!