As a parent, most of us feel it is our job to teach our children to be kind, courteous, respectful, and patient. Throughout the day, I find ways to introduce these lessons to my children.
I encourage my daughters to use their manners. “Say please if you want something.” “Say thank you when you receive it.”
I remind them about the importance of taking turns. “Your sister had the doll first. You need to let her play with it, then it is your turn.”
I discuss the need for privacy and “quiet time.” “Sometimes people need to be by themselves. Privacy is a time to be alone and think about things by yourself. If someone needs some quiet time, then you should respect that.”
I demonstrate to them the way to conduct oneself around people that may not be using their manners, like while driving or out shopping or in restaurants. “Girls, that car seems to be in a bigger hurry than we are, so we’re going to just let them pass us and that’s OK.”
And being that children are like sponges, it’s often these lessons that I teach them that then come back to be lessons for me!
Children may show their true colors at an early age. They show anger, frustration, and fear just as every other human being does. The difference with them is that their anger is short lived, not weighed down by every other memory of disappointment they’ve dealt with before now.
Somewhere along the way down life’s path our sweetness becomes a little sour. For instance, while driving down the road the other day, a very fast car cut over into my lane leaving me to behave angrily. My daughter responded, “It’s OK Mommy. If another driver wants to get by, we should let them pass. That’s OK, we’re in no hurry.” And we weren’t in any hurry. But Mommy recalled the dozens of other incidents from the past where cars thought it was OK to cut me off.
With my girls, I want them to be angry. I want them to get sad. I want them to be frustrated and disappointed. It’s all of these emotions through experience that allow us to learn. But I do have to admit, if there were a way for me to buy a bit of sweetness, a bit of pureness, to have them drink up and help them retain that innocence and kindness, I’d buy it.