One of my very favorite sayings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr is this one:
All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.
In my book, the top way to be a great parent is to model, show, tell, put our children in circumstances where they learn that we all affect each other and the planet. We all need to rise up together, and to understand that some in the world are coming from very different cultural and life experiences that our own. In this way, we raise human beings who are ready to love and serve each other and the world becomes more beautiful. There will always be evil, there is no doubt. There will always be selfishness and greed. But the way we move forward is we train this next generation in love, in kindness, in generosity, in empathy, in humility. The greatest education is not one of books and learning, although I probably love books and learning more than the average person, but one of character.
You might think, well, that sounds terrific, but how do I do that? You might consider starting with yourself and the other adults in your home. What are your wounded areas? Do you see the world in this way; that we all affect each other? Do you see the need to raise others up and to serve others? What is your inner work surrounding these attitudes and these ideals – religious, spiritual, at home, outside the home- what is your practice?
How do you work as a team at home? This is the first thing that children learn in the home- how to be loved and how to love, how to help, how to be respectful through good manners, how to live with others. It is about them learning how to be in the family and to be more than just themselves but instead part of a greater unit. I have held great conversations around this theme over the years with attachment parents, and you can read some of my thoughts on past blog posts- how we can all be connected and meet the needs of our smallest children and yet also communicating that we as the people in the household all help, all serve, all work together, all have needs.
How do you help your child move into the community and society at large around them in a loving and kind way? How do you expand that into the areas of your community and society that are underserved in the teen years and how do you also teach the beautiful boundaries of self-replenishment, self-love in order to make helping a sustainable practice for years to come?
Just a few thoughts on this day, 2019. May we all live and love large and keep moving forward.
Blessings and love,
This post is timely for me. I worry a lot about the subject of character with my daughter. Can you give more details about how to achieve this with our children? Particularly with an emotionally reactive adhd child who has trouble seeing beyond her own needs and wants? My daughter is 10 but in many ways her developmental level is that of a much younger child. Thank you!
Hi There! Is she working with any therapy or counseling? That can be helpful, along with understanding her developmental (not chronological age) age – certain ages are egocentric and we are nudging and guiding throughout childhood, so don’t panic if it doesn’t seem there yet. In my experience, some children with ADHD can often come across as distractible and sort of insensitive, but I don’t think that always means that they are actually egocentric. So, modeling, celebrating and pointing out when others in the family are doing something nice, pointing out feelings and labeling feelings can be helpful for older children and depending upon how much she comprehends, looking at facial expressions and guessing what the heck that face means or is feeling, book lists for teaching empathy and kindness (many of those books lists out there!), using mindful tools (did you know there are now games on Amazon based off of cognitive behavioral therapy? So interesting, and again maybe for her in a couple of years). You could also take a look at the products from https://www.genmindful.com/ – I have many parents who say they like these products in dealing with emotional reactivity (which is of course, in your daughter’s case, a part of the ADHD most likely). I think the ADHD brain matures differently, and develops executive control later or differently as well, so don’t despair. Development sometimes is two steps forward, one step back, fits and spurts more than a linear line. honestlyadhd.com/executive-function-and-adhd/
Hang in there! I know you are doing a fantastic job! Blessings and love, Carrie
Thank you for taking the time to reply, Carrie! She is not in any kind of counseling but I’ve thought she could benefit from some type of “bodywork” that would encourage relaxation, and grounding. I will look into the resources that you mentioned. Thank you very much!!