Monday, January 10, 2011

The Things We Teach Our Kids

When Dude was born someone gave me a card that had a poem in it. The poem was about how his little eyes would always be watching and learning from us ... kind of like a stalker (the poem didn't call the kid a stalker, that was me).

I didn't realize, then, how true that poem would be, how much the kids were, in fact, like little sponges, soaking up and taking in everything they see. At times, I can almost see the cogs turning in their little minds as they process that information. They are constantly observing and learning. They notice how people treat each other, the words that are spoken and the attitudes projected. That is both a wonderful and frightening thing.

Mr. Awesome and I spent some time over the holidays talking about the kind of people we are raising and where we might be missing the boat with the kids. We realised that if we want to raise the kids to be kind, generous and productive people then we have to be much more intentional about what we are teaching them. We have made some changes in how we spend time as a family, the TV shows we watch and the types of conversations we have. We have put more focus on building character rather than filling time with the kids and we talk about what kindness, acceptance and respect look like.

Yesterday I was watching some of the news coverage on the tragic shooting in Arizona. Crafty snuggled up with me to watch the doctors describe how they operated on and saved the life of the congresswoman who was the target of the attack. Crafty asked a lot of questions and we spent some time talking about acceptance and kindness.

As we talked the interviews on TV continued and after several minutes our conversation was interrupted by two people yelling at each other during an interview. Shocked, but not really surprised by this emotional outburst, I watched their exchange to try to figure out what the issue was. Crafty watched too and after a couple of minutes this was her observation,

"Mom, are they yelling and angry with each other because they want other people to stop yelling and being angry with each other?"

"Yeah, that's the gist of it."

"Don't they know that no one will ever respect what you have to say if you scream it rather than saying it with kindness?"

"It doesn't appear that way."

"But they're grown-ups"

"I know."

"That's ridonkulous." She slid off the bed and left the room shaking her head.

Yep Crafty, it is.

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