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Jun 262012

There is something to be said for the huge responsibility weighing on our shoulders as parents. What’s even more straining is being in a position to help a child’s self-esteem flourish all while knowing you may have your own challenges with esteem. It’s not surprising that so many of us have issues with our own sense of self. After all, our parents weren’t given tools to help “fill our buckets”.

Perhaps if we’re going to really take on this mission of “filling buckets” we need to start with filling our own. Of course, that’s much easier said than done. However, just being aware that becoming more fulfilled personally brings a flow of fulfillment to others could be enough.

So while we consider the best approaches (and by the way, there’s no one-best way to approach this) consider giving yourself some loving tender in the process. We may have the added responsibility of nurturing our children but we can’t forget the story of The Goose That Laid The Golden Eggs. If all of our energy is spent caring for those little eggs (our children) we’re going to run out of steam and perhaps self-esteem.

Be well to your children, Be well to yourself!

Jun 252012

As little boys we’re like sponges just soaking up the world around us. With the guidance of our loving parents we traverse life’s obstacles and learn to find a place in our own bodies. Little boys in particular are very resistant to change and are pretty sure, most of the time, that what they know is right. Of course, parents have that responsibility to teach their children the rights and wrongs of life.

Which leads me to my next point. Perhaps many parents, in their very best effort to “do right”, actually wind up assisting their children in unlearning what is actually true. This belief rests on the principle that we are born with all the inherent qualities we have as humans. The inherent qualities I speak of include compassion, lovability, thoughtfulness, sensitivity, vulnerability, creativity, and many others. I believe one of two things happen as young children. Either we are reminded about what is already true about us (the inherent qualities) or we unlearn what is true and are taught the opposite. The opposite being not lovable, not good enough, not worthy, etc.

My wife had her phone on her and asked my son Jake (he’s two) if there was anything he wanted to say to his best friend “Connor” (who is also two). Without prompt this sweet little boy told his best friend that he loved him. My wife sent the video to Connor’s mom and he too wanted to send Jake a message back. Of course, his message was just as touching as I think you’d agree.

Jake and Connor were both born loving, lovable, tender, sweet, thoughtful, sensitive, vulnerable, creative, and sensitive. These qualities are clearly present in the video. Yet for the average “Jake” and “Connor” at 18 or 28 or 48 for that matter they would not be described that way. Men aren’t typically described as sweet, tender, vulnerable, sensitive or loving. So where does this get lost?

For now, I think it’s best that we’re all reminded what’s true about these two boys and every other boy. No matter what they unlearn down the road they’re all sweet, loving, lovable, tender,and sensitive among hundreds of qualities. They don’t have to win anything, do anything better, faster, or harder. They’re already everything they should be. So if you’re a parent reading this I invite you to consider that perhaps as, if not more, important than what our children have to learn is what they need to be reminded of. Those same things are what we can remind ourselves about. After all, we may not be children anymore but we still have all of those qualities we see in these two little boys.

What are some of your favorite ways to remind your son or daughter what’s true about them? How about yourself?

Jun 222012

It’s amazing what our children can teach us. We spend so much effort in helping them to understand the world around them. Sometimes, the most important things we learn are simply reminders…even those from our children.

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