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You know there are certain moments in your parenting journey that make you suddenly very alert to the fact that you have an enormous accountability towards your offspring, towards making them good, mature, strong individuals, and to strive with the best of your abilities to create conscious adults who know how to take responsible decisions.
For me, this moment was the first day my twin boys attended Kindergarten School.
Parenting, for me, has always been an organic journey, one that never tethers to any set of rules and regulations. Even while on bed rest during my high-risk, precious multiple pregnancy, I never read a single parenting book. I figured that I would learn along the way, and muddle through motherhood. (I’ve never been a fan of bookish learning!) Because of my husband’s busy work schedule, I’ve had to take the accountability of taking major parenting decisions on my own and take up life as a WAHM to make things work for my precious bundles of joy.
Well, stumbling, with scraped knees and incredible love in our hearts, we’ve made it to the boys third year. A year filled with new promises, new hope- the year they started going to kindergarten.
And all of a sudden, I realized that now there would be a full three to four hour stretch of time when my kids were out of my sight and I would be unaware of whom they were talking to, whom they were interacting with and what they would do, experience, listen and absorb during all that time. It was finally, all out of my control.
Of course, I could monitor from afar and figure out what was happening in that time through conversations with my sons, their teachers, etc. But after two years of constantly being with them and knowing what they were doing every minute of every day, it was time to start the painful process of letting go.
A few months back, a friend of mine asked me what I see potentially as the biggest challenge in raising my boys. Without thinking even for a moment, I blurted out the worry that has plaguing me for a while now-
“How to teach my boys to take responsible decisions.”
Of course I don’t think about it night and day and neither do I lose any sleep over it, but I do realize that they are growing fast and since that first day of Kindergarten, I am and will continue to slowly lose control of their lives.
It’s not a phase, its reality. The older my boys will get, the more time they will spend away from me and other family. That first day of school was the beginning of their life as independent individuals, and the only way I can empower them now to eventually reach that stage is to teach them to make responsible decisions.
If there is only one gift which I can give them, it is the capability to take decisions keeping in mind what is best for themselves, for people who are around them and generally for the society.
Now, how do I go about this momentous task, since it’s clearly not going to happen on its own? These are my thoughts on how I can turn my wishful thinking into reality:-
- Give Them The Right Values- Good decision making is not an inborn skill, but an acquired one, and its very foundation are the strong values incorporated in the mind of an individual from the earliest age possible. Everything is irrelevant without the values of honesty, compassion, respect, responsibility, generosity, tolerance, etc. which are the ethical and moral building blocks of a life worth living.
- Encourage Critical Thinking- This is of the utmost importance in teaching kids what is right and wrong by analysis and not simply conjecture. We teach them to compare, analyze, prioritize and weight outcomes of various options to take good decisions. This has to be encouraged in kids from a young age onwards in deciding what to eat, how to eat, which friends to play with, which clothes to wear, and other small everyday decisions that lay the foundation of a secure adulthood.
- Creative Thinking as a natural corollary- Contrary to popular thought, creative thinking should be encouraged along with critical thinking to create thought patterns in children that graduate towards more thoughtful and mindful living. These skills aid children to search for creative alternatives for everyday problems, thereby integrating creativity into thought and action.
- Let Children Practice- This is the most difficult step for parents as we feel obvious reluctance in handing over the reins of the thought processes of a child whom we feel is too young to know any better, and till a certain age this is right. But beyond that, we must teach our children to be independent, strong human beings and this is possible only if we let them practice their values, and creative and critical thinking skills in daily life, which in turn will authorize them with the fact that the decisions they take will empower themselves, the people around them and the world in general.
Parenting is not just about giving our children the power to choose which clothes to buy or which foods to eat, but also about which career to choose, whom to build relationships with, what they are putting in their bodies and which of their actions will make their world and ours a better place to live in. It is imperative for them to understand how to have the most positive effect on everything and everyone in their world.
All of us Moms all over the country and the world are striving to make the world a better, happier place for our hearts that are walking around outside our body. This is how I make my contribution towards #MomsForABetterWorld -Lets Teach Our Children To Make Decisions To Fill The World With Joy And Happiness.
This post has been written as part of the extremely thought provoking and powerful campaign by Women’s Web- #MomsForABetterWorld and there could be no better way to share this thought with parents world over, than through this video showcasing the various nuances of motherhood:-