What are we teaching our children? Have you ever paid attention to just how much your children are watching you? Do you see they do what you do (pretend to cook, clean or mimick the work you do)? Have you had a giggle over hearing them repeat some of your sayings?
More often than not, we really don’t realize how much we are teaching our children. Oh sure, we sit with them and read, teach them their A, B, C’s and 1, 2, 3’s. But what I’m talking about is the behaviours we pass on based on the beliefs we learned ourselves as children. Did you grow up hearing your mom or dad saying “money doesn’t grow on trees”, or “you need to work hard if you are going to get ahead” or maybe even “boys don’t cry” and “big girls don’t cry, stop being a baby”.
It is easy to have more self control over our thoughts and actions when times are good and we are calm and centered. But what about those times when we are feeling the stress of single parenting? When the bills are reaching an all time high, when you’ve had an extremely tough day at work and the kids just happen to be high strung and misbehaving? It’s at those moments where we have those knee jerk reactions and unconsciously start spewing off those same comments that came from our parents or other adults we grew up around (those who strongly influenced us growing up). Then as we come down from those moments of anger and frustration and are back in “calm land” do we begin regretting some of those words. I know, I lived some of those moments while raising my two boys. After my marriage breakdown while in my state of anger, depression and frustration, I found myself struggling to be the better parent. Shame and guilt rolled in and those many, many days of wondering how my words and actions would affect my kids long term.
The good news is that we have the choice to move up and out of that “zone”, that place that is not so pretty. When we change, so do our children. You see I saw how my children began living angry, rebellious and physical lives as I lived in my anger, depression and frustration. I saw how they took it out on each other – for a long time it was a challenge to get them out of that “anger zone”. I was feeling hopeless, because the guilt and shame led me to isolate myself from everyone! I didn’t like where I took myself and my children, I certainly didn’t want to share my failures with anyone else. But truth be told, everyone could see it – they could see it in how they behaved outside of my home – as much as it was in my home, it was outside too.
I met someone who is now a very good friend, who was a member of an organization that showed me my life and my children’s lives could be different – better! It had to start with me – my personal development, my self-care and my beliefs – I mattered and I needed to realize that was my first step. I’ve learned to let go of the guilt and the shame – my behaviours were that of a woman who only knew what she knew, many limiting beliefs that were imbedded in every inch of my being. I welcomed the knowledge and committed to the process. It wasn’t long when I noticed a difference in the way I felt, thought and behaved, but better yet, I could see how my children were changing! It was true, to change your surroundings you need to start with YOU. My boys are grown now, living their own lives. And me? Well I get to share what I have learned and continue to learn with you and my granddaughter. She gets a better version of me. I continue to grow and expand who I am, and I love who I am becoming.
I invite you to join me as we create our community, embrace change and welcome choices. Our Community Development team are planning some great information sessions where we can share conversations, challenges and successes. Be sure to sign up to receive our “It Takes A Village” Newsletter to be first to learn about our events.
Liz M Raymond