Things you must know about parenting:
- Children multiply like Gremlins. The more you feed them, the more you get.
- One minute you are queen (or king) of your castle and then next minute you are reduced to scrubbing Kool-Aid out of the carpet.
- Some days, alone time translates as twenty seconds in the bathroom. On. A. Good. Day.
- Your children will try to kill you. It really is accidental. All those matchbox cars lined up on the stairs…they had no idea what a few toys would do to you. They are so very sorry you ended up in the hospital. In traction.
- Understand, everything in your home will be taken apart. Eventually.
- Buy stock in batteries. They will become as important as milk and bread.
Here’s the most important thing you should know about parenting:
- You can raise children who are kind, you can raise a bully, or you can raise a child who is unconcerned with anyone but himself. The choice is yours.
Recently I read a post on bullying by Melanie from Melanie in The Middle. I followed a link from facebook, not because my own children are bullied, but because I know it happens all too often.
A few years ago, I wrote a post on Giving Our Girls A Voice, teaching them to not only stand up for themselves, but also to stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves.
There are plenty of children in the classroom, on the playground, and in the neighborhood who haven’t yet found their voice. Maybe they have disabilities that prevent them from understanding what is happening to them, or maybe they just don’t feel strong enough to protect themselves from mean words and physical harm. I teach my children to stand up for these kids too, because it is not ok to just take care of ourselves. We need to look out for those around us.
We need to help the weak, and I don’t say “weak” in a mean or condescending way. I simply mean I want my children to “do” for those who cannot “do” for themselves. If that means standing up to a bully, so be it. If that means being the brunt of the bad words and jokes for someone else, then that is life.
My kids need to learn that doing the right thing is not always applauded, and it does not always turn out well, but they should still do it.
It is not just about standing up for someone else; it is also about being a friend to the uncool kid, or the ten year-old child who acts like he is five, because that’s where he’s at. It is about asking someone who is sitting all by themselves to sit with you at lunch. It is playing with the child everyone else ignores. It is about being kind.
I have seen far too many children be unkind to my kids – ignore them and act better than them. It makes me sad.
My daughter says the girls in school cannot understand why she is so nice to everyone.
This makes me proud. It is worth more to me than good grades, or talent, or being pretty, or accepted.
Every single time I have seen my son spend time with a child who was sitting on the sidelines because in some way, he didn’t measure up to the norm, I want to run over and give him a big fat kiss. I refrain, but my heart swells.
We can teach our children to be kind, but not if we are unkind.
Are we willing to stand up for the underdog, or befriend the unlovely? Our children hear very little of what we say. Most of the time all they hear is “Whah, wha, Whah”; however, they see what we do.
I do not think we will ever stop bullying. There will always be “mean” kids, but if we teach our children to be kind, then maybe the kind kids will outnumber the mean kids.
Parenting is hard work. I am learning every single day, and too often it is through my mistakes; however, I know this kindness thing works. Let’s teach our children to be strong, to defend the weak, to befriend the friendless, and to be kind to everyone.
Tara Jefferis says
Hello there, stopping by from Pincredible Thursday I loved this post, spot on. Character is worth cultivating by example. Tara.
Ellen (@ThriftyChicMom) says
What a great post and so true! My daughter struggles with the meanness of others not towards her but against each other it breaks her heart and it makes me so proud she sees it for what it is! Here’s to raising kids who care and hopes that someday those who care out number those who do not, great post!
Heather @ Life as we know it... says
Parenting is the toughest job around!
I’m right there with you. I don’t care a thing about my daughter going to college, being a success, and being happy. I just want her to love the Lord.
I loved this post. I am raising 2 girls 5 and 2 1/2, and I so don’t want them to be the mean girls. I am going to print this out and refer to the great ideas you gave.
Charming's Mama says
And the scary part is that kindness begins at home, so true because we teach our kids to follow in our “good” example, except sometimes our example stinks. Not that I have any knowledge of that, nooo . . . . (ahem).
That is an awesome Derby car!
It’s funny because we used to call my sisters gremlins
That is an awesome derby car!!!
It’s so funny because we call my little sisters gremlins (and they’re now almost in their 20’s)
Tori Nelson says
Great post and such an important message. I already get my feelings hurt for Thomas. He’s only 3, but I see these small jabs from other kids, the slight shunning he gets from bigger kids on the playground. I’d love to take that hurt for him. What I can do, like you said, is raise him to be the nice one, the one who welcomes instead of shuns, loves instead of hates.
Great post. Amen on the batteries!!
Jessie @ Dream & Differ says
The first part of this post made me laugh, the second part made me think. For me, that is a hallmark of excellent writing. Well done, my friend. And I totally agree about the batteries. I should have stock in Energizer!
This was a great post and I had a good talk with my son afterward reading it. He is almost nine, such a tender age. He is also new to his school this year. He has made friends, but he also struggles a bit with being a follower. I encouraged him to look around and see if there were kids that were alone and to play with them. Thank you for this reminder. I am guilty of getting caught up in what my childs experience is and not necessarily how he can impact other kids.
I agree! Makes me think I don’t stop to appreciate my kids enough. They are very kind to their classmates. I don’t like the way some of the kids act at all, and I feel sorry for them because they were raised up that way. It’s sad.
free penny press says
I raised 5 children and I must have done something right because they are all compassionate, creative, zany people.. Loved this post!!!
Wonderful post – such a great mix of humour and wisdom and your children are awesome!
I will also write about this.. in Indonesian language of course.
We have some issues, I’m not talking its about morality. But our media, television, shows that the most importing things are to be popular, how to be attractive and the kind one is the one who are miserable, crying all the time and can only accepting sadness with sincerity. Sad but true. Only preach without giving example.
The Illiterate Author says