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.