Right now during a worldwide pandemic, how we show up is so important for our children and we are shaping who they are to become.
I was struck by this thought the other day. I am raising children that will most likely go on to have children and I am modelling for them how to be as a parent. We as parents have a choice as to how we show up and we can change script for future generations.
If you stop and think about it that is an amazing thought!
I was brought up in an alternative, liberal, arty household. My parents were gentle but they had their moments. ‘Just do as I say’ or ‘because I said so’ made total sense to parents back then. Smacking was also a thing, it was just the way a lot of children were punished. Nobody was stepping up and saying ‘this is not OK’
Publicly shaming of children at school was also normal. I remember one teacher throwing the blackboard eraser at us if we made a noise. I remember him threatening to throw one at me as I was giggling when he was talking about ‘our Queen, Elizabeth Regina’. Which I found hilariously funny as it sounded like vagina. My laughter soon stopped when I saw the glint of his eye behind the blackboard eraser.
This same teacher squashed a boy behind a door with all his might continuously with each push he said ‘you’ push ‘will’ push ‘say’ push ‘sorry’ until the boy did, he didn’t have much of a choice. It was the 70’s in England, this was the norm and nobody said a word because, well, you just didn’t. I am old enough to remember small boys (it generally was boys) in corners wearing dunces hats! Looking back I realise that none of this shaming, blaming, aggressive behaviour towards children should have been allowed to happened. Ever.
Excuse me while I physically shake all those memories off and take a breath.
So, here we are now in this moment and we have the power to make everything change, we can do things differently. In an instant we have the choice to think about how we show up. Even if we are completely frazzled, tired and triggered, especially now with so much going on. Most of us are at home self isolating, not being able to see the children’s Grandparents or friends. It is all very strange. We can take that breath and not physically or psychologically throw the chalkboard rubber across the room. It takes work and mental training, it is like a muscle.
Notice when you are being triggered and about to go in to default destructive parenting mode remember it will ultimately serve nobody.
Make a choice as to how you show up because what you do next is important. It is what your children may do to their children and so these patterns go on, remember that.
Breathe, always take a breath. Know that you can step out and take a moment. For me this has been so important especially when the kids were little. Taking that moment to reset can change the whole course of the day!
None of us are perfect as parents (I am definitely not) but we can do our best and in this way we are radically changing the future.
Also in this crazy moment where we are all on lockdown, our kids (and us) are learning about so much; patience, acceptance, understanding, humanity, loss, grief, love, compassion, kindness, gentleness, how to slow down and how incredible health workers are. It is a strangely rich and tragic time all in one breath.
But we are uplifting the next generation and gently changing the course of history for all our potential grandchildren and their children to come and that is a wonderful thought. There may well be a moment in the future when you will talk about all this and you may look your grandchild in the eye and know what a journey you have all been on and how far you have all come.
You can find more of Lehla’s writing in ‘Jump, Fall, Fly from schooling to homeschooling to unschooling’ available here
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