Guiding our children to shine their inner LIGHT by being our absolute best!

Posts tagged ‘communication’

Raising the AHA Generation: Is that a good thing?

ProblemSolving

When you hear Aha, you may think it is a good thing because ‘Aha’ usually means that you are becoming aware of something, but when you hear what AHA stands in this article, I’m not so sure you’ll feel the same way…

As a school teacher of 15 years I have seen many changes through my career. I have seen staggering changes in education, expectations, learning styles and overall behavior of our children. In the past few weeks I have become critically aware of three important elements that I see clear across the board with our current generation that need to be addressed; (I could write another book on this but I will keep it short and sweet for now)

  • Today’s children are generally anxious. Kids always want to know what is coming next and why they are doing what they are doing in that moment. They worry about the simple things in life yet do not pay attention to the details that can help them to feel secure. They have more fears today then we had in our childhood and they look for others to solve their problems because they are afraid that they don’t have the tools to do so on their own.
  • Kids of today are learning to be helpless. Their minds are in three different places at once and they therefore struggle to focus on one thing at a time. Perhaps this is because they are so anxious that they are not in the moment. Maybe they are too focused on the past and too fearful of the future to stay in the present moment, or perhaps they have just learned that they don’t have to do things for themselves because the adults will do it to get it done on their timeline
  • Today’s children are angry. There are many times in a day when I am putting fires out because someone has been ‘rubbed the wrong way’ or is upset because they didn’t get their way. They easily bark at one another instead of talking things out and listening to the ideas of others. Our children of today go from joy to anger in a matter of minutes and then back to joy when they get their way once again. It’s truly remarkable how they’ve learned to use anger as a bargaining chip.

So there you have it, the AHA generation in a nutshell. Maybe that wasn’t the Aha you were expecting but it’s something we certainly need to look at.

Now, where did this come from?

In my opinion, our kids are learning from us! Think about your average day and the amount of stress you are under. We run from one activity to another. We speak so quickly that we often wonder if we are making sense and we never make time to just BE. We have become Human Doings instead of Human Beings because we are trying to do way too much in our lives. Doesn’t that make you feel anxious?

And think about it… if you are anxious…if your child’s teachers are anxious…if the world spins this quickly daily and everybody is running in different directions…aren’t we all creating an anxious environment for our children to grow in?

How could they not develop deep anxiety in life with these circumstances?

We put pressure on our children from the moment they enter school with academic testing (if not sooner based upon our own expectations). We constantly rush them from one activity to another because, well, hey that’s just what we do today. We never take time to sit and quiet our minds or teach our children to quiet their minds yet we expect them to relax and just be kids when they do have ‘down time’. Hmmmm, how are they to do that when even they are under so much pressure?

Let’s talk about learned helplessness– I don’t believe that we have done this on purpose, but it seems that we are always making excuses for our children’s behaviors or seeking a label to explain those behaviors instead of addressing the issues and teaching them how to problem solve. Our kids are over stimulated with electronics and under stimulated with human connection! We often ask our children to do something and then when we realize it hasn’t been done, we do it ourselves because we are in a hurry and it’s just quicker that way. But, what are we creating with this behavior?

How about those angry kids? We are so hell bent on making sure that our children don’t experience what we experienced and we are so concerned with ‘fairness’ that we have forgotten that sometimes life isn’t fair and we all need to learn how to roll with the punches and go with the flow because sometimes things just don’t work out the way you intend.

Now, if you know anything about me, you know that I don’t like to complain about something without having a solution. So, what can we do?

We need to teach our kids how to be Problem Solvers.

We need to stop taking their power away by answering for them or doing it for them and start empowering them to believe in themselves and speak their truth. The world isn’t always fair but our present circumstances do not have to determine our future and learning to overcome obstacles in life can only build strong character. Give your kids their power back and stop solving their problems for them. Instead, give them the tools that they need to be successful in life.

  • When they come to you to ask you if their picture/work is good don’t give them an answer. Instead, get down on their level and say, “What do YOU think about your picture?” Allow them to talk about their work and share their pride. This will teach them that their opinion matters and they don’t have to seek approval outside of themselves.
  • When they feel disappointed or upset about something, don’t offer them the solution or try to make it better (and believe me I know this is hard). Instead, sit with them and allow them to feel their feelings without judgment, then ask them what they think they can do about the problem. Guide them to problem solve without giving them a direct solution. This will help them to feel empowered because they had a part in the solution. And as difficult as it is-because we all just want to make it better- it’s worth it in the long run because you are giving them tools for a lifetime. What is that old saying… “Give them a fish and they eat today but teach them to fish and they eat for an eternity!” (or something like that)

I don’t want our kids to be anxious, helpless and angry. Instead, I would like to create a strong foundation for them so that they can grow up to have a healthy, productive, joyful life. Now that is a much better Aha, agree?

Lots of Love & Tons of Light,

Vicki

PS Please leave me your comments. I read them all and love hearing your thoughts!

www.vickisavini.com

Advertisements

Why Can’t These Kids Listen?

I have always prided myself on my ability to see the world through the eyes of a child and create a peaceful, warm, loving environment within my classroom. A few years ago I earned the title of ‘The Mindful Teacher’ because I work so hard to stay in the present moment and I actually teach a mindfulness practice in my classroom for at least 20 minutes a day every day after lunch and recess-

Yet, Friday was truly a terrible, horrible, no good very bad day because my 1st graders just wouldn’t listen to a word I said.

This behavior had been building from about the middle of the week but on Friday I literally stood there at the front of my classroom wondering if I was stuck in a Charlie Brown cartoon because as I gazed at my students it appeared that they were simply hearing ‘wha wha wha wha wha’ (just like the cartoon) instead of the actual words I was saying. At one point I actually raised my voice (which never happens in my room) in order to get their attention. I was then quickly heart broken as I noticed that this was the only way that the kids respond to adults-when their voice is loud and they know they’ve crossed the line. That was the worst feeling ever and certainly not how Mrs. Savini’s classroom runs on a daily basis!

I decided to take a step back, ask some questions to my audience and go within. And here’s what I found-

Step 1: I asked this question on my facebook page, ‘Why do you think children are not good listeners in today’s society?’

And here are some responses:

‘Technology and chemicals in food have negatively changed the physiology and essentially rewired our brains.’ -Nicole

‘Too much technology not enough out doors and simply playing learning and exploring.’ -Cheryl

‘Because the world is so rushed and no one teaches them to stop and listen, to quiet their mind and hear what is being said before responding. Many children and adults are so busy forming their response in their head that the don’t listen well.’ -Teri

Probably because adults are poor examples – at least its one reason.’ -Elizabeth

Step 2: I closed my eyes and took a few deep breaths and asked for answers from my higher self.

Dear Higher Self, 

What the hell is going on? Have I lost my magical touch? Is it a full moon?’

The answers came…

No it’s not a full moon and no you haven’t lost your magic touch. The truth is our kids are growing up in a hectic, busy society where everyone is a bit disconnected. Yes, the chemicals in the foods and environment are a factor and yes too much technology adds to their brains going astray, but the most important factor is YOU.

Hmmmmm. Well that’s certainly something to think about isn’t it?!

Have you ever gone out to dinner with your family and noticed the tables where parents are scrolling through their smartphones and kids are on electronics while waiting for their meals to come? I’m sure you’ve stood and watched people texting back and forth while they are sitting in the same room as well.

I remember a time when I was waiting to board a plane in a major airport. I noticed that many people were on electronics, busying their minds until their time was up. Then I turned and noticed a family of four sitting at a table; Mom was on her laptop, dad was on a kindle, the teen boy was also on a laptop and the youngest child (likely 8-9 years old) was on his iPod. They were not looking at each other, nor were they talking to one another. They were sitting in the same space, at the same table as a family, yet they were totally disconnected. Their flight was called and everyone packed up and walked away together, still not interacting. I had tears in my eyes as I watched this because it reminded me just how precious childhood is and that we are wasting it away by not connecting with the kids.

Where’s the connection nowadays (omg…did I just say that? I’ve turned into my mother…lol)? When do we look into each others eyes and share a moment of tenderness? When do we stop and truly listen to what the other person is saying? We need to get this back-we need to CONNECT and if we want our children to be better  listeners, then we need to listen better and model better.

After all of this pondering about the problem, the solution finally hit me-

My students need more mindfulness training than 20 minutes a day and I need to be more mindful to model this behavior for them!

The truth is, our kids have difficulty listening and are seemingly careless about life because they are growing up in a disconnected society where everyone is on the run and our minds are never in one place. We are running to a meeting, running to a practice, running to the grocery store, running-away.

We all need to STOP, BREATHE and just BE.

Here’s my new plan for Monday;

Instead of just practicing Mindfulness for 20 minutes or so after lunch and recess, I will practice throughout the day. I, myself will stay in the moment and serve as a strong model for my students. Each and every day moving forward, I will remind myself that the gift of life is the present moment. I will do this by posting this simple sign in my home, my car and of course, my classroom.

breathe.

 

Why breathe? Because when we take a deep breath, we are brought back to the present moment.

My students aren’t deliberating ignoring me and we aren’t deliberately ignoring the children, but we are all disconnecting in some way, shape or form. It’s time to connect again. It’s time to breathe!

 

Mindfulness in Action: If you like what I have to say and want to stay in touch go on over to my webpage and sign up for the FREE newsletter. You’ll get all of my blog posts, newsletters and upcoming events/classes.

Lots of Love & Tons of Light,

Vicki

Not in Front of the Children

notinfront

This is a follow up from yesterday’s post-

I normally do not write back to back blogs, but if you read my last post you learned that I have a major concern with how much information our children are being exposed to in today’s society.

The moment my 1st graders began talking about the incident in Boston I felt a chill run up my spine because I just firmly believe that childhood is a precious time period that is dwindling before our very eyes.

I began surveying colleagues and other parents in the building to see how many of them had talked to their young children about the event or allowed them to watch the news. I was astounded when I heard that many of them not only talked to them but also allowed the kids to watch the news or were watching the news while the children were in the room or had an ear shot.

This effected me deeply, and I wasn’t clear why. Today as I was driving to school that clarity came to me…

On January 3, 1983, I was laying in my bed, in my red feetie pajama’s having a hard time falling asleep. As I laid there tossing and turning the phone rang in the dead of the night. I heard my mom answer the phone, gasp, and then respond, “No, no, that can’t be right. How can that be?” I sat up in my bed to get a better listen and then I heard my mom crying and my dad trying to comfort her. My eldest sister came in and was totally devastated.

I walked out of my bedroom and asked what was going on as my family began to come together. I was told to go back to bed, but I couldn’t because I was so concerned. My sister then told me that my cousin died and we would talk about it in the morning.

My cousin was a 27 year old attorney who was senselessly killed in the office of the firm where he worked. My family didn’t really talk directly to me about it in the morning-as promised, instead I heard the news and the conversations among family and friends.

My mom had pulled her back and was ‘laid up’ in bed so I would go and lay with her while she watched the news. At the age of 10 I was still innocent, vulnerable and totally energetically sensitive (as most children are).

As the news reporters would announce new findings and talk about how my cousin was blind folded, tied to his chair and shot in the head several times, I felt chills run down my spine and got an immediate visual which made me cringe at the thought of this wonderful man who I adored exiting life in this terrible way.

My mom would tell me to leave the room as they revealed details, but I still heard the news in the background.

Perhaps that’s why I never watch the news.

I find the news to be negative and down right depressing. My son is not exposed to the news or talk of the negative-fear based society we live in. I choose not to expose him to that because I am trying to preserve his childhood. Quite frankly, I think there’s plenty of time for him to hear about the darkness in the world.

I really don’t believe that parents think about what this negative news can do to a child.

We complain about violent video games and inappropriate cartoons because it fills their minds with negative thoughts and dark behaviors, yet we allow them to watch or listen to the news? That doesn’t make sense.

Mindfulness is the key to a peaceful society. We can start in our homes by being mindful of what our children are hearing and seeing.

If you really need to watch or listen to the news (especially when there is a tragic event-and you know we have several), please consider doing that when the children are not in the room.

If we truly want a more peaceful society, it needs to start at home. Immerse your children in love and happy thoughts as long as you can because childhood is our foundation and it’s simply too precious to ignore.

From a child who was exposed to news that forever changed her life, please hear my plea and become more mindful of what’s happening in front of the children.

Children are energetically sensitive. That means they pick up on energy around them before they hear or see. Stop and think about that for a moment and change the energy you allow your children to step into.

Let’s face it, the news doesn’t normally leave you with an uplifting or positive feeling. Our kids are already dealing with tons of pressure and negativity, do we really need to expose them to more?

Ask yourself if this is beneficial to the children in any way-does it uplift them? If not, consider waiting until the children are not in front of you to immerse yourself in the news if you so choose to expose yourself to that negativity.

It could make a HUGE difference in our society…

Lots of Love & Tons of Light,

Vicki

PS Try NOT tuning in for a week and see how you FEEL. You just might feel more uplifted yourself!

Too Much Information?

news

Tragically we have endured yet another senseless act of violence in our nation. Tonight I send lots of Love and tons of Light to the Boston area and then I pose this question…

Are we giving our children too much information?

Every morning my precious 1st graders enter the room with wonder and excitement in their eyes. I purposefully stand in the doorway or greet them in the hall with a smile as they unpack for their day. I do this because I want to warmly welcome them to a new school day and to be sure that I am starting the morning out positively for them.

The children walk into the room, greet their friends and immediately begin ‘morning work.’ Soon after the school announcements come on and then helpers begin setting up our morning meeting.

Morning meeting is a beautiful time because the kids show what they know by reviewing the calendar, discussing the weather and counting how many days we’ve been in school. We also sing songs and choose our morning affirmation to set our day in motion.  

If the kids have something on their minds, this is a good time for them to share their thoughts and feelings.  This morning after our morning routine and choosing the affirmation, “I am infinite,” one of my students raised his hand and said, “Mrs. Savini, did you hear about the bombs that were dropped on Boston?

I must admit that I was caught off guard because I didn’t expect to hear that this morning. I too have a 1st grader and decided that there would be no talk of the incident or watching of the news while he was awake, so I was stunned when I heard this question and then saw all of the children engaging in discussion.

I turned to the child and said, “Well, hunnie, there actually weren’t bombs dropped from the sky but yes there was an incident in Boston yesterday involving 2 explosions.”  

It was at that point that I asked the children how many of them heard about the ‘bombs’ and how they exactly learned of this news. I was shocked to see that most children raised their hands to say they in fact DID heard of the ‘bombs.’  Some heard of this from parents and others watched the news.

I took a deep breath and told the kids that I didn’t think it was something we should discuss at school because we don’t have all of the facts. If they had questions, they should talk to their parents.

I personally don’t watch the news because I find it very negative and depressing.

In that moment I wondered, ‘Are we giving our children too much information?

About 30 minutes later my kids were off to specials and I had some time to talk with a colleague and a parent in the building. I asked the parent if their child knew of the event in Boston and they said yes. They discussed it with their child because they didn’t know what they would hear at school.

Ahhhh, yes, now that makes more sense. At first I wondered why parents would allow their children to know of this event, but this made sense. Most parents were talking to their children about it because they would rather they heard about it from them instead of children, but I still had a concern…

In December our nation was shaken with the horrific event in Newtown, CT and children were given information at that point as well. Today when my children were talking of this I saw two reactions; 1) worry-fear-anxiety, 2) disconnect. Yep, that’s what I said…disconnect.  I wondered in that instance if we as adults knew the long term impact of ‘giving too much information’ to young impressionable children.

You see, I believe we live in a society where we are disconnected from one another more than we are connected and that is dangerous…that is why we have events like Newtown, CT listed in our history books…because someone was disconnected.

I started to feel that maybe giving our children too much information and exposing them to the news was somehow desensitizing them. It’s desensitizing us to some degree because we hear so much of it, why wouldn’t it do the same for our children who really have little understanding about life and death at this early and tender age?

I’m certainly not judging anyone for their decisions with their children, but I’m wondering if giving them too much information and exposing them to the very negative news that flashes across our screens (phones, computers, TV’s etc) daily is really the best option for our children.

Is it possible to just let children be children and IF they come to us with questions regarding a tragedy, THEN we answer their questions–while still protecting their innocence–as best as we can?

I believe that young children are on a need to know basis and that they do not need to know about senseless violence in our world. I strongly believe that exposing our children to this kind of event, even though we mean well, can cause more issues in the future such as anxiety, or worse, desensitization.

I didn’t tell my son about this event and he didn’t come home and ask me about it either. If he had, I would have told him that sometimes awful things happen and it’s terrible to see this happen or experience this but we should notice all of the love that rises to the top of the situation.

We should take the time to see how everyone pulled together and how everyday people turned into heroes at a very sad time.

I’m curious to hear what YOU think…Too much information

Lots of Love & Tons of Light,

Vicki

What Children Are Really Communicating

sad girl

Photo By: http://photography.ivanmcclellan.com/

Our sorrows and wounds are healed only when we touch them with compassion. ~Buddha

When babies cry everyone rushes to reveal what’s wrong and alleviate their stress.  It’s somewhat of an instinct in our culture. We understand that the only way that baby can communicate a need to us; be it hunger, a necessary diaper change, fatigue or discomfort is to cry out. No one wants to hear a baby cry, so we respond quickly. Unfortunately, as a child begins to grow and learns the language, we assume that they know how to communicate their needs effectively, yet do they?

As an elementary teacher I have come to know that even though children have more vocabulary words when they enter school, they still do not know how to communicate their needs. Often, children cry out to get their meet needs, but all we see is defiance instead of their plea for help.

Bella is an adorable 1st grader who entered my classroom in September. I remember getting her kindergarten card and noting that she could be a handful at times. I put the card in my filing cabinet at the start of the year because I like to get to know my kids from my own perspective without previous judgments.

I call all of my students the week before school begins to get them excited about school (that’s just how I roll). We then have a ‘Welcome Back Picnic’ at our school to meet the parents and children in a friendly, welcoming atmosphere.

When I met Bella and her mom at the picnic, I noticed that Bella appeared to be ‘running the show.’ Her mom and I talked for a bit and she shared that Bella’s dad died when she was only eight months old and it was just the two of them still to this day. It was easy to see that mom was compensating for the loss.

Within the first month of school, I could certainly see why Bella had earned this reputation of being a handful. She could be a bit silly and somewhat defiant at times, however she knew the rules of our classroom and understood what kind of behavior was expected, so she did well with me.

Right after the December break things started to change. Bella was getting herself into trouble in several of her classes (art, music & gym). She was not listening to directions and defying the teachers when they asked her not to do something. She was also talking back to adults in the building and getting herself into trouble at her before and after school program.

Her mom and I talked on the phone to create a plan of action. I suggested a behavior plan to help her but asked mom to promise to follow through at home for this to be effective.  The plan worked for a few days, but Bella just didn’t seem to care about making good choices.

On a Friday afternoon (likely around a full moon) Bella’s plea for help became apparent. She got in trouble from the moment she entered the school. She needed a great deal of redirection from me and found herself in trouble everywhere she went that day. At lunchtime I got a phone call from the cafeteria asking if she was with me because she took it upon herself to leave the cafeteria without permission. This put several staff members in a state of panic.

I walked down the hall and found her. We sat down and talked about her choices and how this was not safe. She apologized sweetly and assured me it wouldn’t happen again. The children returned to the room and she asked to go to the bathroom. Five minutes later she was brought to me by another teacher who caught her fooling around in the bathroom.

I was outraged and caught up in the moment. I called her mom and asked her to meet me for an impromptu conference with Bella right after school. My intent was to make an impact on her by having an immediate meeting with mom because she appeared to have no remorse. She was talking the talk by saying how sorry she was, but not choosing to walk the walk and something needed to be done.

A few hours later mom arrived at the school with tears in her eyes. She expressed her disappointment and shared concern that she was failing as a mother. She told me that she was terrified that Bella did not have a bond with her because she suffered from post partum after giving birth and felt that this was all her fault. Bella was often in charge because she was afraid to give her consequences for fear that she would hate her. I reassured her that we would work through this together and come up with a plan.

When we entered the room, Bella ran up to her mom with a huge smile and jumped into her arms. This, of course made her mother cry even more. She was most upset that her daughter didn’t have any remorse for her actions.

While we were having the meeting, Bella sat there stone faced with a smirk at times answering our questions like a trained professional. Her mom asked her why we were having the meeting and she answered stoically, “We are having this meeting because I’m not making good choices. I’m sorry Mommy.”

I watched her and quickly noticed that she was not present. I looked into her eyes and said, “Bella, thank you for telling us what you know we want to hear, but what I’d really like to know is how you feel.” I referred to my children’s book, “The Light Inside of Me” because we use this frequently in our classroom to describe how we are feeling. I asked her if she felt that the light inside was bright or dim. She of course said it was dim.

I looked at her with loving eyes and said, “Bella, would you please put your hands on your heart and close your eyes because I’d like to talk about your feelings.” She complied without hesitation. I then asked her to use an ‘I Statement’ to tell us why her light was dim.

She took a few minutes with her eyes closed then opened them and looked right at me. Her whole demeanor was different. She was softer, gentler, and certainly in the present moment. She began to talk and tenderly said, “Well Mrs. Savini, my light is dim because I feel sad. I feel sad because sometimes I wish my life was different. I wish that one of my friends could live with me and my mom because I get lonely. I feel lonely Mrs. Savini and that makes me really sad.”

I gave her a big hug and told her that we would work this out together. Her smile lit up the room as her light within was beaming.

Bella was crying out just like an infant. Sure at six, children have words to express their feelings, but it’s difficult to do that when you are not sure of your truth. By asking Bella to place her hands on her heart and feel her feelings, she felt safe and was able to truly express her discomfort.

Our intent that day was to teach her a lesson, but the true lesson was in being compassionate instead of judgmental. By opening our hearts to her plea for help we gave her the opportunity to express what was really bothering her.  Bella and her mom made some simple changes at home and she has been a totally different kid from that time…her best self!

Our children are a mirror for whatever we are experiencing in life. We think we hide it well, but we don’t because they are not rationalizing our reactions in their heads. Instead, they are feeling the energy we are projecting. Bella wasn’t looking to break the rules or get in trouble. Instead, she was communicating a need that was born from her emotional pain.  Today and every day take a step back when your children are ‘acting out’ and really observe the situation. Treat them like infants and go to the core of their issue to solve the problem. Instead of judging their behavior and reacting with fear, take the time to respond by understanding what they are really communicating.

When Our Children Speak Their Truth

Image

Last week was a busy week.  It was the first week back from vacation and somehow, I always feel like I need a vacation from a vacation.  I may have been a bit distracted during the week as I multitasked to get things done to catch up from the week before and prepare for the weeks ahead.  Perhaps I didn’t realize that I was becoming a human doing instead of a human being until my six year old gracefully pointed that out to me…

I had just finished yet another load of clothes and I was checking email when my sister came up on Skype.  I hadn’t talked with her in a while so I accepted her video request.  My son was playing a computer game in the home office so I went to another area of our house to chat with my sister.  Within a few moments of our conversation, my son screamed, “Mom!  I need you! This crazy computer is stuck again!!”  Our office computer is quite the dinosaur, but it’s good for games on the computer (or so I thought).

I calmly called up to him, “Hunnie, I’m Skyping with your aunt right now.  I’ll be up in a few minutes.”  A few minutes later he screamed again, “Mom!  I n-e-e-d  y-o-u-r  h-e-l-p!”  This time I replied, “You just have to wait until Mommy is done, and then I will be up.”

Apparently, that wasn’t good enough because moments later I heard him stomp down the hall and slam his bedroom door.  I just shook my head and continued my conversation.  Finally, I told my sister I need to go check on my son and up the stairs I went.  As I climbed the stairs I was thinking how nervy it was of him to slam his door in frustration, but then I was thinking how frustrated both my husband and I get on that computer as well.

I slowly opened his door and saw him on the floor playing with a toy.  I looked at him and said, “Nico, I was talking with Aunt Bri and I couldn’t come to help you in that moment, but slamming your door, seriously, who do you think you are?”

He turned and looked right in my eyes and very matter-of-factly said, “I am me. That’s who I am.”  For a brief moment I was stunned.  I work very hard to teach the children in my class and my very own child to speak their truth and that is exactly what my kid was doing right in front of me.  I smiled and said, “You’re absolutely right.  I appreciate that you are you and that you can say that with pride.  What I would like to know is, do you think slamming the door a good choice?”  He looked at me and replied, “I’m sorry mom.  I was just so frustrated.” 

We then talked about what he could do when he feels frustrated again instead of slamming the door, like possibly walking away and playing with something else to settle down (like he did after slamming the door).

While talking with him over the next fifteen minutes of so I realized that he was not only frustrated about the computer.  More importantly, he was frustrated because he felt like I wasn’t there for him.  He had been entertaining himself quite a bit as I caught up from our vacation and me sitting down to check email and then Skyping was likely, the last straw for him.

Don’t Let One Bad Apple Spoil the Bunch…Cook That Apple Pie!

Do we not strive as parents to be our absolute best for our children?  Do we consistently look out for our child’s best interest and commonly ask questions to be sure our kids are headed ‘down the right road?’  Of course, we do.  However, what we fail to sometimes realize, is that our kids are watching, listening, and learning from us 24:7 (that’s right…even when we’re sleeping).

I can’t possibly count the number of times that I have heard a phrase come out of my child’s mouth and knew immediately that he picked it up from me (unfortunately, some of those phrases were ‘potty words’ that he shared at just the right moment, in front of my mother in law!).

They spit back the words that we say, the actions that we take, and of course the paths that we show them to roam.

Today, I had a terrific opportunity to learn a lesson, and an even greater opportunity to teach a lesson…

I was informed that there was a person out there spreading toxic waste about me (we all have this happen at some point, no matter how kind, generous or loving we are).  My initial reaction was anger.  I wanted to take out an ad in the local newspaper to debunk this person’s accusations and call every person I knew to ‘vent.’  However, for some reason, I held back, knowing that those actions would simply be me, re-acting to the situation, instead of responding.  I had plenty of ‘good things’ going on in my day, including my Kidspeak Radio Show in the evening, spending quality time with my son, and preparing for another week of empowering kids in an upcoming camp.  Yet I was choosing to focus on this one negative event.

Before I allowed this to consume me, I smartened up and took 5.  I retreated to a quiet room in my home and sat in silence asking, “What is it that I need to know here?”  Within moments, I knew that there was a great lesson here and I just needed to let go of the toxic feelings.  I wanted to focus on all of the good that was going on in my life, but I kept being drawn into the toxic pit! As much as I tried to rationalize the situation, I wanted to defend myself, and then it hit me…

This was an opportunity for me to use my own formula and theory that I teach others, for myself (you know, walk the talk).  I teach my clients 3 R’s to problem solve and eliminate toxic thinking;

1)      Recognize– become AWARE of what is really going on in the moment by releasing blame.

2)      Realize– ALTERNATIVES to the current problem/situation.

3)      Respond– instead of re-acting, by taking positive ACTION.

In that moment (the moment that I was faced with walking my talk), I recognized what was really going on by bringing my awareness to the present moment. Instead of playing the past in my head repeatedly, or looking too far ahead in the future with fear, I simply saw the situation for what it was, a very small part of my day!  I then realized that I could allow myself to ruin the rest of my day with my son and possibly destroy my radio show for the evening, OR, I could release the feelings of anger and just focus on the good.

Guess what?  I chose to respond instead of re-act and I allowed this event to be just a small occurrence in my day.  I did not pick up the phone to vent to friends (well, maybe one), or call the local news.  Instead, I put my energy into riding bikes with my son and then providing an amazing radio show!

The lesson became very clear when I talked with my son later in the evening and he said something quite profound during an interview we were preparing for a few weeks out (because he couldn’t understand why Mommy wasn’t interviewing HIM for Kidspeak Radio-LOL).  I asked my son what he wanted other children to know, and he responded,

Love yourself.  You have to just love yourself, even when you feel mad or sad, because that’s what’s in your heart.”

Hmmmm, I felt a little bit ‘checked,’ but more importantly, blessed.  I certainly was not loving myself when I was letting someone else’s delusional opinion of me ruin part of my day!  I’m sure glad I was able to use the 3 R’s to my benefit, and I’m most thankful for my little avatar who reminded me that,

You can’t let one bad apple spoil the bunch!’

If I allowed this toxic information to ruin my time with my son and my radio show, I would have been giving my power away and not truly loving myself.  I also would not be setting a very good example for my son, because I would be teaching him that what matters most, is what others say about you.  That would be quite hypocritical since I teach,

What matters most is how you see yourself!”

The BIG lesson here for me is that today, I remembered, that children learn from us 24:7, and oh by the way, they are really damn good teachers too!

“Don’t let one bad apple spoil the bunch.” In other words, one negative event, word or happening doesn’t have to stop you from cooking an amazing apple pie!

 

Lots of Love,

Vicki

PS…If you want to HEAR that radio show, click on the Kidspeak Radio Show link here, or above!