MomOpinion Matters.Com
Book: Install#15: Ch 3.2 Intro

Enter subhead content here



Installment #15
You are Finding your bearings.  I'll show you a trick.  Don't look down.  Look straight ahead.  Keep your eyes focused up the path and you won't get stuck.  I will be right there to encourage you to keep going forward even when the fog rolls in and you can see nothing.  It will clear.  It always does.  And then the sun will grant you a much farther and brighter view.  It always does...                                                                             

In the beginning, we hold fast to their heart,

then we introduce Humor

and when they have turned the world

upside down and inside out,

and laughed at all they know

our children can begin to see beyond the here and now.

and if Humor offers an attitude

with which to cope with the world,

then Perspective offers a balance

with which to understand and move through it. Perspective is the seed of Optimism

and what will give Optimism its wings.

Chapter Three: Part Two:  Introduction: Offering Perspective-Not Getting Stuck                                                                                               

Ok. Let's talk about our school children not getting stuck in the moment‑which will happen, because they're near-sighted, and short sighted-which makes the immediate so very dramatic, and that drama, so all encompassing, so much so, that they may see no escape, no avenue of retreat, no future. Unless our wisdom becomes their window, and we show them how to open it, and we describe what lies around and beyond, we people watch, and discuss those people with them. And we put information and feelings in perspective--no small thing, to put things in perspective.

Why do you think that happened? When might that have occurred before, and where?

And what do you think it will mean for the future, and that story you heard about?

What do you think they were thinking when they said that?                                                                               

Why do you think people are so angry about it?

And if you could make a positive change for the future what would it be?

What might you want to do when you become adult if you could do anything you wanted, and where might you want to live, if money were no object,

and what kind of family life would you have?

What would you want to recreate from your childhood, or do away with, or invent for your children?                                                                          

Like a remote control toy picker-upper?                                                                           

Or a bullhorn with built in commands that boomed:

Put away your clothes NOW!

Brush your teeth NOW!                     

Do your homework NOW!

Go to sleep NOW!

(And you might ask if the NOW is a key component.)                                                   

Any time we can talk either seriously or with humor about other possibilities, several points of view, the future, and the past as a connection to the present, so that the present doesn't stand alone in the midst of nothingness; any time we can show them they're not living solo, that they are not unique in their experience, that they are not the first or the last to feel great anger, or great fear, or great worry,or great hurt,or great doubt; any time we can remind them that those feelings come with the territory of their age  that we have all been there and their children will be there too, then we are helping our children move forward and build emotional resilience along the way.

We show them over and over and over again, how to look out and beyond, and we tell them over and over again, that this too shall pass, that good times always follow bad, that tomorrow is another day, that, as my grandfather used to say, no chance is last chance saloon! Or, as Yogi Berra said, It ain't over till it's over!  There is always a window to open. And we have any conversation that will take them away from their immediate space, and that will push them forward and out (which does not mean flash cards in the womb, SAT prep in kindergarten, coaching for the pros at recess, or extracurricular activities non-stop until midnight.)

It means simply discussing the world by creating a window where they see none, keeping that window open when they want to close it, so that in all weathers, it can allow for light and bring in fresh air and offer a longer and wider view, in order that their space never feels too cramped, or dark, or suffocating, for that is dangerous.

And when they stop talking about themselves and their feelings turn inward and silent, they can find that window on their own, open it themselves, take a deep breath, look out and beyond, and know that as they were told over and over again by us-

this too shall pass,

tomorrow is another day,

no chance is last chance saloon,

It ain't over till it's over.

And they will not feel trapped because we stood there with them. We had conversations with them about life, about people, about events past, present and future from day one. When they are older, they can take that window, recreate that view, carry it anywhere, and, if need be, put it up against any wall, any time, and in any situation as a panoramic view and Perspective on the world.

This, we give to them, so they may grow Optimism, so they may pass that Optimism on to their children and their children's children, so that Optimism may continue on forever


Bringing that View to School Territory

School, for better or for worse, will take up most of our child's journey to adulthood. And Middle School is what I term a perfect storm. Our children discover that we parents are not at all perfect beings. They realize that their bodies are desperately flawed, changing radically and making them unfocused and off balance. Their self-image becomes perilously connected to how their peers view them. No positives here!

I said in my radio interview that if asked what our favorite time in school might have been, I could not imagine anyone saying Middle School! Quite frankly, it is the pits on the best day! Kids have said good-bye to the protections that automatically come with Lower School-from parent handholding to more watchful teacher eyes, and enter this strange world of Tweenhood with more daily independence and responsibility, but less cover and with the least amount of emotional padding to support all the changes that will assault them.

Middle School holds a tremendous amount of power. For one thing, kids are beginning to discover academic problems and if need be, will become masters at avoiding and hiding them. For another, any serious peer issues can completely derail a student's movement forward,  and lastly, family problems (e.g. divorce, abuse, dysfunction) can stop a child dead in his/her tracks. It is imperative that kids do not shut down and get stuck in any one moment in time. Dangerous behavior willl happen when they feel trapped and hopeless. Destructive and self-destructive behavior will surface(e.g. stealing, cheating, ,suicidal tendencies, eating disorders) Kids will do what they need to do to lessen the hurt, dull the ache, avoid the pain of whatever loneliness and depression they feel. Alcahol, drugs and sex become new secret friends. And all three very quietly enter, via the backroom, in Middle School.  So, if there were ever a time when our chidlren need as much Perspective as possible, it is during their Middle School years.

I truly believe we can light this part of the road and make our children's school ife--their second home--less risky and a lot more rewarding by giving them a wider lens to use, and having lots of conversations with as many 'what if' and 'why do you think' questions as posssible.

I will offer such a conversation you can have with your kids about bullies.  It is the beginning of a larger philosophy your kids can carry with them throughout their lives and use in most situations.  What I want to do in H20 to Go! is offer as much umbrella philosophy as I can. If we hope to build emotional resilience and strength, we need to give our children shelter, strength and power against the elements. Those come with having an understanding about the people they will encounter and/or have to work with, and of any difficult situations they might have to work through.

Next Installment #16

Chapter 3.2 Taking Off The Bully mask (Installment #16)