I’ve been a little slack with these heart training posts of late, for a number of reasons.
One, is that I’ve just been busy and haven’t had a huge amount of time to blog, but another is that I really don’t want to preach.
Don’t get me wrong; I believe in this. I’ve seen changes in my family since I focused on placing values in my kids hearts, rather than just barking out orders, but I know it’s not for everyone. And whilst I think it should be for everyone, and that all people should listen to me all the time, 😉 I’m real enough to know that’s not actually the case. And gentle enough to not want to offend anyone.
It’s important to me that people understand nothing I write comes from a high horse; I understand people are different and have different families and values. I believe wholeheartedly that you know your children better than anyone, so you need to be the one who makes decisions for them; not some chick on a blog.
When I write these posts it’s not because I have made it. Rather, it’s because this is what I’m thinking about, because this is what I’m working on.
Sometimes, it’s hard to say no.
We love our kids. We want to see them happy all the time. We want to give them everything their little hearts desires and fill the world with rainbows, and puppies and maybe a friendly dinosaur or two.
Unfortunately, we can’t.
And honestly, even if we could, we probably shouldn’t.
Because life isn’t like that, and constantly meeting every whim and desire does not set them up well for the future.
I’m co facilitating a Child Wise course at our school at the moment, and in this weeks course, there was a key point that resonated with me so deeply.
When we make our children’s happiness the goal, we lose sight of objectivity, and the abandonment of conviction soon follows.
So, for example, if kindness is an important virtue for us to teach our children, we will do our best to help our children to learn to share, to use gentle words, and to think of others.
If our child were to steal a toy off another, we would gently remind them to share and give the toy back, despite protestations.
If, however, happiness is our goal, upon the obtaining of the object, we begin to justify why it’s ok for them to keep it. We decide that the other child had had it too long, or ours had it first. That it’s been a hard week, and that toy is just making life easier for a little while, so it’s ok that they stole it. We ignore the cries of the other child, and the death stares from their parent, because our conviction has been overstepped by achieving our goal; the happiness of our child.
With my older kids, I was so vigilant in putting our values first, but I find, these days, I opt for the path of least resistance.
And an almost four year old can understand ‘share’ a lot better than a 21 month old, so he can practice it, even though he has suffered from her demand.
What’s happening is that I have a determined little girl on my hand, who has learnt to fight me, and tears are a great negotiation tactic. It’s easier to just say yes.
To lose objectivity.
To abandon conviction.
To give her what she wants.
But I’m not doing anyone any favours.
Now it’s probably not as bad as it sounds; it’s not like she is a dictator and the whole family comes and goes at her beck and call. Not at all.
But having seen lately first hand, in a friends family what happens when parents are too scared to say no, I am well aware that there needs to be a shift in attitude and perspective.
Both hers and mine.
I do my kids a great disservice, when I make their happiness the end goal of my parenting. When saying no becomes an isolated incident, because conflict is never nice.
On the flip side, when I am motivated by training my children’s hearts by installing values and virtues in to them, not only do I make them better people, but we all achieve happiness together.
There is great joy for a child who can learn to play well with others, and understand the beauty of giving, and the wonder of serving others.
Perhaps even better, there is great joy for the world around them, that is made better by their considerate generosity.
Saying no can be a hard thing, but it isn’t a bad thing, and it shouldn’t be a feared thing.
What should scare me more, is what could happen if I refuse to say it.