By Ivis Mateos- General Manager Tiny Planet Education
With all that’s going on with violence in schools, the amount of negative information children is exposed to through media, smart-phones, life in general, how do you teach non-violence? What tools do you use to encourage the youth/children around you? How do you instill a sense of security, values, faith, & discipline?
I asked over 30 of the most amazing women I know from different professional backgrounds, economic status, faith and country of birth, what they believe was the most effective way to encourage love, offer compassion and empathy for others as well as other important traits we apply to our daily lives to continue to be well- rounded individuals.
These ladies are stay at home moms, teachers, business professionals, doctors, faith leaders and community influencers. In one way or another they have created an energy of light and love that has spread to everyone around them and I believe if we take little bits of advice from each of them, we can possibly begin to take bigger steps toward rebuilding the connections lost with our children.
Although we all do not agreed on one specific method or theory of raising better humans, the one common factor we do have clear is the importance of coming together as a community to help each other stay strong because, after all, “it takes a village to raise a child”, literally! We agree it is not easy raising children now a days. There are way too many distractions and influencers in and away from the home that may not have the best interest in mind. The battle is great and therefore it takes a village of individuals to ensure our children feel protected, loved, & appreciated. As a community we must regroup and learn to rely on each other for support. We need to go back to the basic principle of trusting one another. We need to form an alliance of individuals, parents, teachers, grandparents, neighbors, service men and women, that are willing to set differences aside in order raise our children with purpose. When I say children, I am referring to all of the children in our community-even the ones that don’t share our same DNA!
Dr. Aura, a mother of two teenagers, believes that “it is our second job as a community member to step up and help, assist and lend a helping hand to all those that need it.”
We must set the example of service. How about we give our children choices like what community
or volunteer work they want to participate in? Perhaps take them to an animal shelter to volunteer their time cleaning and caring for abandoned animals. This is something my friend Yadira advocates and strongly believes children would benefit from since it helps with child development of responsibility and social development skills. Ms. Anais, an elementary teacher for over 10 years, mentioned how essential it is to go back to basics. She has seen a great shift in the way children are coping with challenges. Children are finding it difficult to accept defeat, to accept the fact that we don’t always win at games, or in life, yet they are still expecting to be rewarded just for participating.
It is important we prepare our children for the future and the true challenges life will bring. While it is important to encourage our children often, it is also necessary to remind them that challenges are not a bad thing. They help us grow and push us to do better, not give up and try harder.
Our children need guidance. They need us to be present. As my friends Stephanie and Yeni said, “we must ensure that the time we spend at home, school or elsewhere with our children, is of quality.
Disconnect from technology and connect with each other. Encourage children to be children. That means children should be allowed to play outdoors as much as they play indoors. Let them get dirty. Allow them to experiment and explore. Some experts say uninterrupted playtime is the primary way young children learn about their world and build physical, cognitive, and emotional awareness. Less technology and more dirt. This will help all children to be more in touch with nature and their surroundings.
Finally, one thing we all agree on is the need to take it back to basics. It starts with more empathy. Empathy helps activate pro-social behavior. It is the key to kindness, forgiveness, understanding and ultimately love!
How do we teach empathy? By being empathetic, ha! As adults, we are responsible for setting the standards. We must be conscious of our actions and reactions. When there is a neighbor in need, are we walking the other way and pretending we didn’t see that neighbor’s need, or do we take the initiative and help out? When we see a stray animal limping across the road, do we swerve around it and keep on keep’n on, or are we willing to stop and see what we can do to help that animal? Are we sensitive to the needs of others? It is important that we start asking ourselves these questions and to be honest with what we are reflecting to our children.
Like my dear cousin Kristy said, “crap happens And sometimes life sucks. And sometimes we get angry,” but we still have the responsibility to be good role models. The only way to truly make a change in their lives, is to come together, have faith and never lose hope. The battle is great and therefore it takes a village of individuals to ensure our children feel protected, loved, & appreciated.