Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What Your Kids Need YOU to BE (WARNING: they'll be just like you one day)

(This post is directed to myself more than anyone!!)

The path of my life has led me to associate with teenagers for the near majority of my 37 years. I've had the awesome opportunity to work with literally thousands of teens through church, school, and other community assignments. I absolutely love teenagers. You may think I'm crazy, but really, they are great.

My husband and I were discussing an activity that I was planning with the teens in my church group, and I had an enlightening moment.  It was when something I've always known actually hit me as true...
I thought about some of the girls that I had recently worked with, and their moms. I realized that I wouldn't even have to know which girl belonged to which mother to be able to match them together... even if they looked nothing alike.

 It was kind of a scary thought... how much influence moms have on their daughters. 

Even though I love teenagers, I will admit that some are kinder and more secure with themselves than others. Please don't send me hate mail for saying this, but in my experience, I see that the vast majority of kind and secure kids also have kind, inclusive, and secure parents. Of course, there are always exceptions, but usually this is the case.

I'm not talking here about those who may be termed by their peers as "popular". No, I'm talking about those who are real, and kind. (...and some "popular" kids fit into this category, but not all!)

I pondered a whole lot about what I want my kids to be like as they grow into their teen years. I thought about what I must reflect if I want them to be that way.

Here are the top FIVE things that I would tell parents: What your kids need YOU to be...

1. Know that you are of infinitely great worth, and so is everyone else!

Sometimes self worth can swing between feeling superior to others, and then feeling inferior to everyone. Most of us have felt each of those feelings at some point.
It is so important to teach children that no one is actually a more important or superior person than anyone else. We are just different, and each must learn to shine in our own way.

 A few of my favorite quotes about that:

"Our individual worth is already divinely established as "great"; it does not fluctuate like the stock market." -Neal A. Maxwell

Although, peer pressure, and popularity contests teach kids otherwise, we brought our great worth with us when we came into this world. It's established, and nothing can change it. We will certainly be tempted to feel like it fluctuates... that's why this is something we must know deep in our hearts. Kids will know this, if their parents do.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.
(Nelson Mandela quoted Marianne Williamson in A Return to Love)

“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which,if you say it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. nations, cultures, arts, civilizations - These are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit - immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.” 
― C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

2. Be accepting of yourself, and your body

 Some are tall, and some are short. Some are round, and some are thin. And almost everyone at some time or other wants to be something they are not! But as one adviser to teenage girls said: “You can’t live your life worrying that the world is staring at you. When you let people’s opinions make you self-conscious you give away your power. … The key to feeling [confident] is to always listen to your inner self—[the real you.]” 

 And if you are obsessing over being a size 2, you won’t be very surprised when your daughter... does the same and makes herself physically ill trying to accomplish it. 
-Jeffrey R. Holland

I like this...

"The greatest prison people live in, is the fear of what other people think."

"Always be a first-rate version of yourself, instead of a second-rate version of someone else."
 -Judy Garland

"Over and over [my mother] said to me, "You must do everything you can to make your appearance pleasing, but the minute you walk our the door, forget yourself and start concentrating on others." 
-Susan W. Tanner

3. Be happy, smile, and have a good attitude.... even in the tough times!
People are always telling teenagers to improve their attitude, but I think all of us could take that advice.

"I believe the happiest girls are the prettiest."
 -Audrey Hepburn

"She stood in the storm, and when the wind did not flow her way, she adjusted her sails."

"Happy is the man who can brush aside the offending remarks of others and go on his way."
 -Gordon B. Hinckley

"Every time you are able to find humor in a difficult situation, you win."

4. Be with your children! Slow down, take time to enjoy them

"I all of living have much fun and laughter. Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured." -Gordon B, Hinckley

The Mad Hatter: Have I gone mad?

Alice: I'm afraid so. You're entirely bonkers. But I'll tell you a secret. All the best people are.

"Once she stopped rushing through life, she was amazed at how much more life she had time for."

 “The biggest mistake I made [as a parent] is the one that most of us make. … I did not live in the moment enough. This is particularly clear now that the moment is gone, captured only in photographs. There is one picture of [my three children] sitting in the grass on a quilt in the shadow of the swing set on a summer day, ages six, four, and one. And I wish I could remember what we ate, and what we talked about, and how they sounded, and how they looked when they slept that night. I wish I had not been in such a hurry to get on to the next thing: dinner, bath, book, bed. I wish I had treasured the doing a little more and the getting it done a little less” (Loud and Clear [2004], 10–11). -Anna Quindlen

5. Be truly kind

I once heard a man speak about his dad, whom he greatly admired. This father would always ask his kids about how they treated people, and what friends they had made. He would repeatedly tell his children, "I would rather have kind kids than smart kids."

I've never forgotten those words, and have felt their wisdom and importance. Of course, it's so important to make sure our children know that education is important, but I believe kindness is the most important. Even the kids who aren't perfect in grades can excel in kindness. As a teacher, I can assure, true kindness is what makes kids and teens shine.
(I say TRUE because there are plenty of people who can be kind to faces of others, but are not so kind behind backs).

Gordon B. and Marjorie Pay Hinckley

 “I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails. I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp. I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbor's children. I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden. I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder. I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.” -Marjorie Pay Hinckley

"Being humble means recognizing we are not on earth to see how important we can become, but to see how much difference we can make in the lives of others."
 -Gordon B. Hinkley

Good friends help you to find important things when you have lost them... your smile, your hope, and your courage." --Doe Zantamata

"Kindness is a language the deaf can hear and the blind can see." -Mark Twain

So , there's my advice...definitely more to myself than anyone else. 
Here's a recap:

XO, Nancy

P.S. I just saw a great quote to end this post:
"Don't let yourself become so concerned with raising a good kid
that you forget you already have one."
Pin It

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...