If there is ONE thing I wish all parents understood, it is that childhood is not merely a preparation for living, it IS living. Children are not apprentices for adulthood, though they are usually treated as such. This is a huge mistake. Because what is actually a valid and complete period in life turns into a second-class affair, all about correcting and teaching based on a desired outcome in the future.
Childhood is fleeting, filled with hugs and giggles and smiles and is sooooooooo very precious. And it is tragic to tarnish this with our mental strain and futuristic endeavours.
Like little Buddhas, children are completely present, and living from their heart. What we can learn from our children is so vital and fresh and joyous…But when we focus exclusively on ‘development’, ‘progress’ and other comparatives, we reduce these magical years to a burden filled with imaginary stresses and worry.
Oh how I worried when my firstborn didn’t talk until he was nearly 3…not at first- for a long time I believed ‘you can’t push the river’ and that he would talk whenever he was ready…But when everybody started suggesting maybe he was deaf, or autistic, that I really should get him checked out (even though I knew his hearing was perfect because whenever I would go into my bathroom cabinet to get out a Q-tip he would come flying in wanting one- he loved Q-tips! Or if I would give him a directive "Go to your room, in your closet and get your blue shoes, not your red ones…" and he would do it, so I knew we were communicating fine…) but after 2 years of pressure to ‘not be in denial’, I DID start to really wonder WHY ISN’T HE TALKING ALREADY?
THAT was when I got stressed out!
Every child is uniquely special. Although the school system would like to- we can’t ‘hot-house’ their learning. Or their crawling, walking, talking, potty-training, etc. etc. And when we rush these ‘milestones’ we create frustration and pain and drama.
As our children grow we may wonder how they are developing…but instead of comparing our children to others, what is more productive is to KNOW your own, and know yourself. Do YOU feel comfortable with where things are? If so, your baby will feel that and be nourished. If something IS bothering you about your child’s growth or development, tune into your sense on an even deeper level and trust your insight when it comes, to check things out, or whatever it is. This ability to resist the temptation to compare and instead to tune into each other will serve both you and your child long-term.
Even temper-tantrums may be appreciated for what they are- examples of your child’s will- which is wonderful! If you can respect their will and try to guide it constructively without crushing it, you will be transforming those difficult moments into gateways for self-esteem. It’s so much how we perceive things that determine how we will feel and even behave.
Here is the formula: T (THOUGHT) leads to F (FEELINGS) which = A (ACTIONS)
So if you want to change a mind, change a mood- yours or theirs! Watch carefully where your thoughts are taking you.
Instead of always worrying ‘what will happen IF he is still doing that by the time he is…’ ENJOY him, enjoy him doing IT- whatever it is, because it most likely won’t last!
But one thing is for sure- as soon as you have one thing figured out- another issue crops up in its place- only every time! It’s all a process, a journey. Your child is a living work of art, as are you. So what is the rush? What is the pressure all about? How can we enjoy our children, their childhood along with them? Just as I consider my time valuable, I realise my children’s time is also. They won’t be children forever, and I guard their time and what they are exposed to consciously. And mostly, I make the most of each day we have together. They won’t always ask me if I want to skip with them, or tuck them in, or wash their hair, or cut their apple, or play hide-and-seek, or draw dinosaurs or make them lemon chewies or tell them a story or make snow angels or sand-castles…and if I spend all my time with them TEACHING them how to do all that, then I am missing out on just BEING with them.
So let us good moms relax- and enjoy the moments, the tears and tantrums- especially the really good ones! lol- and everything in between. We don’t have to prepare them for life so much as we get to live it with them, knowing full well that life is preparing them just fine! And the best part? We get to have another childhood of our own by sharing in theirs right along with them! IN-JOY!
SHANNON LEONE is a Mom, Artist, Writer with 20 years experience in Self-Health whose background includes: Assistant Fitness Director of the Parkview Club in Toronto, Licensed Aestitician and Colon Hydro therapist, Raw Gourmet Foodie, Director of THE LITTLE FRIENDS FOUNDATION, Creator of THE FRIENDSHIP FLAG GAME for kids age 1-100, and Filmmaker RAISING CHILDREN RAISES US- a DVD on Conscious Parenting. Shannon has appeared on TV’s Woman to Woman, Daytime, Body Mind Spirit, International Radio and many Magazines. For personal or group Coaching and Seminars: 1-866-LEONE-11, rawmom.com