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Do you Value your Child?

The next time you are about to do some activity or buy something for your child, stop and ask yourself, is this for them or me.
It is a question that bears asking and you may be surprised at the answer.
Upon deeper inspection or introspection we may find that our good intentions may not be rooted in what is meaningful to our children, but reflects our own values and desires. For example, does a three year old really want designer clothes.

Doing things that reflect what you place value on instead of what your child enjoys and finds meaningful can undermine your child's sense of self and ultimately their happiness.
Your child's happiness doesn't depend on material possessions or specific activities. Their happiness comes from feeling certain and clear in who they are and making choices that reflect their character.

Happiness comes from knowing that they belong, that they are deeply loved by the important people in their life. It comes from knowing that they are respected and valued for who they are.

This weekend I found myself in a situation where my daughters ideas and mine were not quite aligned. Despite some rain from Hanna we were able to get out twice for some fishing. We have been building up to this 1st attempt at fishing. A few weeks ago we went to Campmor and got a Fishing Pole (One with the push button Casting mechanism) and a tackle box. The fishing pole came with a rubber fish that we were able to tie onto the line and practice casting and reeling. This past Friday we purchased a tackle kit with various hooks, bobbers, sinkers, and lures. On the way home we stopped at Van Suan Park and made a few casts before the mosquitoes drove of off. As a child I was not close with my Dad. He was never really in my life, but he did take me fishing once when I was around 4. I remember digging for worms, going to the local pond, and catching a fish. It took a while to catch the fish but I was into learning how to do it. I remember thinking that my Dad was really good at fishing. In taking my daughter I guess I wanted her to have a similar experience with fishing but I think I was unintentionally modelling that experience after my own. When we got to the actual fishing my daughter cast her line out out with a little help. After reeling it back in she asked me to do the next cast. She reeled it back in then was pretty much done. I think for her fishing was more about catching the fish than the actual process of fishing. After about 10 minutes she seemed more interested in feeding the ducks and jumping in the puddles from the rain overnight than sitting around and trying to catch something. In the End we didn't catch anything but we did feed the ducks, spotted a few turtles, and had quite a bit of fun with one turtle that was chasing after the lure. We later lost that lure when it got stuck on something nonetheless we had fun and she wants to go back again. I am pretty sure if I was rigid and tried to force her to fish my way that it would have ended or impaired her interest in fishing and would have created a negative memory. Fortunately I was able to quell my own desires to teach her how to fish and let her spend the time the way that she enjoyed. At the same time I was able to cast out quite a few times and had her grab the line whenever there was a tug, point out turtles, and enjoy the day. I feel that our job as parents is to provide the tools and some guidance, but not dictate or control activities. We should create an environment where our kids can explore an interest or hobby in their own way. Along the journey they will get to know themselves better and gain confidence as they face challenges, persevere, and reaps the rewards of doing so as will we. The lesson our children teach us is how to just play and have fun :)
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Anonymous said...

Mike -

Very well written! I love your website - you've done a great service (I especially love the book shelf)!


Me-Me King said...

Nothing is more precious!

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