Tools For Learning

Inspiration for Parents & Educators

Parents, Do You Wish Your kids Were Different?

Parents, it’s natural to expect your children to take after you: fun-loving, responsible, balanced, appropriate in all situations. It’s difficult for parents to see their own children having problems of any kind: low grades, being shy in social situations, or exhibiting occasional inappropriate behaviors in social situations but keep your kids in mind. It is a bit narcissistic to want them to be exactly like you, or wanting them to be perfect. Accept your children’s uniqueness, and cherish them for who they are and not what you want them to be. Realize that they are good kids, and let go of the things that you think they’re not.

When you catch yourself wishing that your kids were different: “Why is she so loud and rough?” “Why is he so obnoxious in school?” “Why can’t she keep friends?” “Why is he so quiet and shy?, try to see things from your kids’ point of view. How would you feel if someone was always hovering over you and telling you to do this and that, this way and that way? And be honest with yourself; is being like you in their best interest? Ask yourself: “Am I being so hard on my kids because I didn’t accomplish certain things when I was young because I didn’t have the capabilities or the opportunities?”

I not advocating that you ignore behaviors that harm your kids or others. It is your responsibility as a parent to teach your kids right from wrong, and respect for themselves and others. Letting kids be kids, and be themselves is important in their development. It also helps you get a better perspective of what a great parent you really are, and how extraordinarily OK your kids truly are! It also rids you of any guilt that your kids are not measuring up to an arbitrary standard of yours. Without all the negativity to get in the way of a positive relationship with them, you can successfully focus on getting to know each of your “one-of-a-kind” kids even better.

If you identify yourself living vicariously through your children, you may try to manipulate them into filling the sense of lack in your own life. It is manifested when you say: “I want you to achieve what I never did.” “I want you to receive straight A’s so you’re accepted into an Ivy League University so I can be proud of you.” “I know what’s best for you.” “Don’t disappoint me.” The ego’s dysfunction comes to light with statements like these. Opposition from your kids in similar situations gives you, sadly, a renewed force to continue this inappropriate behavior. Think about what you’re saying and doing to your kids. The relationship foundation that you have and maintain with them sets the tone for all other relationships in their lives.

Expecting to live vicariously through your children isn’t fair to them or you. It’s your responsibility and totally up to you to discover the resources within you to make you happy, and not rely on your children to do so.

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How Happy Are You? Part 2

You are unique and capable of extraordinary things! Finding pastimes that are best suited to you is one of the great adventures of life, and a source of much happiness. Remember, you and only you can make you happy. If you are truly satisfied and joyful you experience it all as your real, authentic self. Happiness can be sustained beyond just experiencing something wonderful at any given moment. Many times you judge an activity by how you feel about it beforehand instead of how you feel after the venture is over. Many times you don’t feel like practicing for a marathon, but you do it anyway. Once this task is over you’re usually glad that you kept to your rigorous training schedule. Your sense of satisfaction and well-being lasts for a long time after the actual workout is over. That’s happiness! In every moment of your life you choose happiness or not!

When you choose happiness over passing pleasure, it is sustained independently of your circumstances in life: money, material things, past successes, and future opportunities. Happiness can’t be found by pursuing happiness! Many people refuse to think about it, or even believe in this idea. If you set out to find and savor happiness, it will elude you every time.

Happiness is not an an end itself, nor is it an experience. It is truly a by product of every situation, at every step, and at all crossroads on your adventure through life. Is there an aliveness and enjoyment for you in what you are doing and experiencing now? When you are completely absorbed in your favorite pastime and really present in the moment, the result is one of high energy and intensity. An added bonus is that stress is absent, also. Check it out for yourself! You’ll become a believer!

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