7 Things Worth Teaching Our Children and Remembering Ourselves
At Body Ecology, our mission is to improve the health and happiness of adults and children. Along the way, we discovered Meg Brown, former corporate executive, single mom of two adopted boys and Body Ecology follower. Meg’s focus on empowering parents to create healthy, happy families is what inspired this Conscious Parenting column. You can follow Meg’s complete series, “Resolve to be Conscious,” at www.ConsciousFamilyJournal.com.
Conscious New Year’s Resolutions for Parents
Rewarding your kids with sweets can set up sugar addiction and contribute to childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes. So how do you satisfy a sweet tooth without creating sugar addiction? It’s easy with Stevia, the all-natural, zero-calorie, healthy sugar substitute that provides the sweet taste without the damaging effects of sugar.
There is something about a brand new year that just feels good.
New inspiration. New hope. A chance to forgive and forget all those things that didn’t happen as planned in the previous year.
People have been making New Year’s resolutions for thousands of years. Today’s most popular resolutions range from losing weight to saving more money to taking that trip to Paris that you’ve been putting off for years.
What will you teach your children this year?
Let’s take some time this month to really think about the focus of our parenting practices. While on the surface, it’s easy to focus on teaching our children how to behave in public, how to get along with their siblings and how to succeed at school, maybe it’s time to go deeper…
Here are my top 7 Conscious Parenting New Year’s Resolutions:
What do you want your child to believe about the nature of our universe? Is it one of abundance or limitation? Joy or suffering? Splendor or sacrifice?
Your beliefs about our world are coloring your child’s belief system right this minute. Your approach to life’s challenges and opportunities is teaching your child how to manage their own life.
Do you want your child to grow up believing that there is never enough good stuff to go around? That we need to struggle, fight, cheat – or go to war – to ensure that we get our fair share?
Or, would you rather teach your child that every good thing already exists for them – and that they can accept all the blessings they choose?
- New Year’s Resolution #1: This year, I resolve to not moan about money in front of my children. I will no longer lecture them about how much everything costs, when it feels like they are not being appropriately grateful for all that they have.Instead, I will share with them daily my joy and gratitude for all the good that I see in my life. I will happily make them wait to eat dinner until I have fully expressed all that I am excited and hopeful about.I will trust that with time and through my example, they will see the world as I have come to see it: Magical, abundant, full of grace.
How do you want your child to feel about her place in the universe? Do you want her to believe that she is one with all of creation, or a totally separate and solitary being?
We get a lot of parenting advice on how to separate from our children, whether we are focused on getting them to sleep through the night alone in their crib or sending them off to college, career and financial independence.
Perhaps this is the year when we should instead direct our energies toward making our children feel safe, connected and part of something eternal. Maybe we could spend a little less time on “severing the cord” and a little more on building lifelong bonds.
Maybe we could stop using the word “them” and switch to the word “us”, as much as possible.
- New Year’s Resolution #2: This year, I resolve to teach my sons through my words that we are all children of the same Creation, equally deserving of respect and compassion. I will strive to find the good in every person (including them) and name it, out loud.
- New Year’s Resolution #3: This year, I resolve to teach my children through my actions that we are all connected in spirit. I will hold the door at the supermarket, offer my seat on the bus, relinquish the best parking space and put something in every hand that is held out to me.
Do you see your child as perfect, just the way he is, or hopelessly flawed and in need of constant improvement? More importantly, do our children feel perfect, just the way they are, or do they experience our “guidance” as constant proof that they are not now and never will be good enough??
I’ve said before that conscious parenting is a lot about trust.
I was reminded of this by a dear friend recently… of how, at some deep level, we need to accept that we cannot “fix” everything for our children. And that maybe (probably) our children don’t actually need anywhere near as much fixing as we think.
- New Year’s Resolution #4: This year, I resolve to release my fear of making mistakes. In front of my children, I will laugh at every mishap. I will celebrate every misstep as a step nonetheless… one that is moving me forward on my life’s journey.
- New Year’s Resolution #5: This year, I resolve to let my children experience life more as an adventure in learning, rather than a constant race to stay out of trouble. I will commiserate more than correct.
I will try to always parent from a place of faith, not fear.
Do you reward your kids with sweets or show them how to recognize the sweetness in life? Everywhere from school to the dentist office and back at home, kids have been rewarded for good behavior with sugary sweets. Over time, this can lead to sugar addiction, which contributes to childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes.
- New Year’s Resolution #6: This year, I will focus on rewards that create connections to others and the sweetness of life, rather than sugar addiction.
Instead, I resolve to choose rewards like: allowing them to have friends over for sleepovers, having special family activities, taking a trip to the zoo or an amusement park or tickets to the movies. There are so many sweet things in life that teach us to connect with each other instead of food.
I’m not saying that kids shouldn’t have sweet treats! That’s why I use the healthy, all-natural sugar substitute Stevia for the sweet treats we have at home. Stevia satisfies my family’s sweet tooth without the harmful affects of sugar. And one of the side benefits? Delicious taste without that “bouncing off the walls” and crashing that comes with sugar.
And finally, one of the most important resolutions of all…
- New Year’s Resolution #7: This year, I will release my obsession with the passage of time and learn to enjoy every moment. I won’t have to teach this to my children because they already know it – I will learn from them.
We teach our children powerful lessons through our own behavior and life choices. Wayne W. Dyer’s thought-provoking book, What Do You Really Want for Your Children?, is inspiring profound change in my approach to parenting. Check it out!