How do you teach your kids kindness, love and empathy?

When people make mistakes, wrong choices, and are maybe going through a rough time, that is when they need love and support from everyone around them. When others choose to pass judgment on someone for their mistakes and whatever they me be going through, and define them as that, it makes that person feel even more alone and question everything about themselves. Not to mention, it makes it harder for them to keep positive, have love and empathy for those who are judging them. Now imagine if this was your child? What if your child, did something, made some bad choices, and was going through a tough time? What if others, peers and parents decided the choices your child made, defined them as a person, the way everyone would now see them?

How do you teach your child to have kindness, love and empathy for others, when the worlds seems to be turning against them? These are questions that I ask myself daily. It seems that our world has become unforgiving, full of judgment and honestly fear stricken. Is it where you live? The people who live there? I don’t know… I do know that people find it easier to turn against one another than to come together, support, love and uplift.

I could write how great my daughter Pressley is, but really it doesn’t matter what others think or believe. I know who she is, her family does and at the end of the day that is all that matters. But for her, at her age, it effects her whole life with how and what people say and think about her. I understand parents when they hear things about other kids, what trouble they may have gotten in, poor choices they made, I do. What I don’t understand is when parents don’t ever think about how something could or would effect their own child if this happened to them… It is so much easier to say to your child,” you can’t hang out or talk to this person again”, than it is to say, “why don’t you talk to them and see if they need a friend”? This really breaks my heart on so many levels, not just for my girl, but for how people really are not kind, forgiving, and have no empathy for anyone, not even an 11 year old. Believe me, I understand parents want to protect their children from anything and everything, but I would also say, parents need to start educating themselves on what it means to be a loving human. I look at each person I meet everyday and think how they have their own story, their own struggles, I never try to pass judgment on anyone, that is taking the path of fear.

I have no anger for these parents and their kids, I can’t, they are not capable of looking at people as loving beings. I have empathy for them, I have sadness for them, for they don’t know what our life has been like. The struggles, challenges and how hard she works everyday to be happy. If they knew what she has gone through and the work she does everyday to be a better, happier person, they might rethink there thoughts. I am teaching her, this is a short period of time, that this does NOT define her as a person, it is just a bump in her path, a learning lesson that will serve a purpose. She doesn’t fully understand that and I don’t expect her to, but to teach her to love, be kind and have empathy for those who don’t for her, is only going to make her a better, stronger and loving being. The old saying “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” is really a true statement, you miss out on some amazing people by judging them, by listening to others and to not read a few pages.

We all have the choice to be loving, kind and to have empathy, our kids, learn this from us, what are you teaching them?

Nothing defines you, unless you let it.

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What does it mean to be a parent?

I love looking up what the true meaning of words are, as it sometimes takes on a whole new dimension of how I might have thought about the word. Merriam-Webster defines Parent as this: a person who is a father or mother; a person who has a child: an animal or plant that produces a young animal or plant. something out of which another thing has developed. I had to go even farther in this and look up what it means to be a father and a mother. Father: a man who has begotten a child. Mother: a female parent: a woman in authority: maternal tenderness or affection. I have to say, these definitions, seem a little cold, no real terminology of how it truly feels to be a parent, but that brings me to my point, everyone looks at being a parent differently. I think about growing up and my own parents, how I viewed them and how they parented me. My dad was the strict one, the enforcer if you want say, while my mom was the one who was the more loving, affection one. Probably pretty typical of parenting back then and how their parents where as well. The thing is I knew when I was little that I wanted to be a different kind of parent, not because I got into trouble all the time, but that they never heard me, listened to me, or really thought of me as a human being. Might sound weird, of course they knew I was alive, but they didn’t have the capability of seeing me as an individual, who had thoughts, feelings, and that I was going to grow up into an adult and be my own person one day. I know that is why we had so many problems when I was younger, as I wanted to be heard, I wanted to be acknowledged as a person, I wanted to be able to talk to them about so many things, but that never was to happen until I was in my adulthood. I think life could have been so different, I believe for the better, if they could have been opened to being different parents. I know if they were still alive they would actually agree with me, my dad for sure as he did become my best friend and at the end we had the relationship I had always wanted.

I know many parents believe you can’t be your kids friends, that you are this “holy person” or you are older and that makes you wiser. Why is that? Who taught you that and why do you believe that? I look at being a mom as the biggest blessing that I could have ever been given. Each 9 months, was a gift even though it was hard and you gave up so much of yourself, but the end result was this beautiful being. I knew I was going to have this bond with each of my children, that they would always have someone to talk to about anything, that I would be “their friend”, their supporter, guide, and the ONE person who would always be there no matter what. Today, more than ever I am grateful for making this choice, for being the different parent, one that does get judged because I am their friend. I really laugh at how some think, that means there are no rules, no guidance, and that my house is a free for all, but in reality, I don’t care, because only me and my kids know how we live, what we do and at the end of the day, that is all that really matters. For my girls especially this has been vital for them, for me to be a real human to them, not just their mom. To let them speak, feel and have no fear to talk to me. I can’t imagine how life would be IF I didn’t want it this way, how they would have dealt with all they have had to alone. Human beings want to feel accepted, loved, have their thoughts heard, emotions met, and feel they have a voice. I know some think that when they are 18, they are an adult and that is when they can be their friend, like that is when you stop being a parent? What about all you missed up to that point? How do you just expect anyone to open up, share feelings, all the things that friends are and do? I am not here to say I am a perfect person, parent or that this is the way you should parent. I am here to make you think, evaluate, and maybe question why you parent the way you do. You might be surprised at what you find out.

Today in Minnesota it was 47 degrees! So I said let’s go tubing! Mason’s girlfriend Bella came with, just us girls 🙂

My mini me, who is not so mini anymore.

I would not want to spend my time with anyone else in this world, my kids, are the best people. They have learned to be around the people who bring out the best in them, bring them good energy, make them better people and challenge them to grow and learn. I am beyond blessed that we do this for each other.

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