Where did we get the idea that it is our responsibility as parents to program the minds of our children through lectures, punishment, guilt and other coercive techniques?
Collaborative Learning Produces Deep Results
It’s much better to engage in collaborative learning with our children. It is more effective to lead them to their own learning and allow them to draw their own conclusions. When kids learn from reflecting upon their own experience, what they learn goes deep inside and can last a lifetime.
When we teach this way we are doing a double service to our children.
First we are teaching them values in a way
that integrates them into their whole being
and not just parroting what they are told.
Second we are actually teaching them the skill and art of
analysis, reflection and critical thinking.
This they can apply to any situation in their lives.
A Parenting Lesson at the Pizza Parlour
The other day I was with some friends at a restaurant and a father a few tables away was giving his maybe 5 year old son a lecture. The lecture went something like this:
“Don’t play with the sugar packets.
Sugar packets in restaurants are not for playing they are for using in drinks.
How would you feel if you needed some sugar and there wasn’t any
because some kid was playing with them before?
I’ll tell you how you would feel you would feel very bad.
This is what you are doing to someone else.
Do you really want to make someone else feel bad
because you played with the sugar packets?”
It went on in this fashion for a while.
I could literally feel the child’s spirit shrinking as the father spoke.
I could also feel him learning the opposite lesson from what his father was intending.
Set a Good Example of The Values You Want To Teach
I’m sure the dad wanted him to learn to think of others, to be considerate and respectful.
The problem is he was not doing those very things as he was talking to his child.
He was actually being disrespectful to his child
and not thinking of his feelings.
So this is the example his child was receiving.
The words themselves do not hold as much weight
as the actions he was performing at that time.
Let the Kid Play!
On top of that, I believe the father was dead wrong!
I think of sugar packets are equally for play as for food.
In fact playing with sugar is a lot more healthy than ingesting it.
Of course there is a part of me that wanted to go and talk to this man.
I wanted to explain to him that he was alienating his child
and not actually teaching the lessons he thought he was teaching.
He Was Creating Distance Between Them That Will Last a Lifetime
I wanted to tell him that he is putting a distance between him and his son that he may not see right now, but when his son is a bit older he will certainly feel. Then he will wonder why his kid acts so disrespectfully and doesn’t listen to what he said. He learned it from you Pops.
It is interesting what a mystery teenagers are to their parents though.
They don’t realize they have had a huge hand in making them the way they are.
I also know well enough that it would be useless for me to do that
and probably even harmful to the child.
So I stayed put.
I Was So Full Of Emotion I Couldn’t Stand It
I could not shake the emotions I was feeling though.
I felt for this young person who was being told
his natural inclination to play with his environment was wrong.
The frustration was building up inside me
until I couldn’t take it anymore,
I had to do something.
Sugar IS Meant To Be Played With
So I reached for a sugar packet,
opened it and dumped the contents all over the table.
I then proceeded to play with the sugar and created a lovely design.
I took a picture of it so I could share it with you.
Sending a Message of Acceptance and Love
As I was making this “Sugar Art” I was sending the young boy love and healing energy.
I was sending him the message that
‘It’s OK to play, it’s wonderful to play, and even necessary to play.’
I was sending him the message that
his intuitive understanding of the world was correct.
His parents version of the world,
created by their own pain and life experience,
is actually less accurate.
I really believe that in some way he received this message.
I believe we are all connected
and that every thought we think,
and every act we perform has an effect on others.
Playing with that sugar packet helped me to lighten my load a little.
I was able to bring my attention back to my friends
and enjoy interacting with them for the rest of the meal.
Conscious Parenting Requires Deep Thinking And Feeling
It really is a worthwhile endeavour to think deeply about
what values you want to impart to your children
and also what is the most effective way to do so.
We Teach More By Who We Are Than What We Say
I maintain that the example we set through the way we behave,
the intent behind our words, thoughts and actions,
and really the very kind of people that we are
has more of an effect on our kids then any lecture we can give them.
Therefore when thinking about the lessons you want to teach your kids,
and thinking about the kind of people you want them to be
it makes sense to think about the kind of person you yourself are.
It makes sense to be continuously working on the kind of person that you are.
It also makes sense to teach them the lessons of life experientially.
Help them to learn from their own experiences and draw their own conclusions.
0 thoughts on “Sugar Is Meant To Be Played With, Not Eaten – or – We Teach More By Who We Are Than What We Say”
This brought tears to my eyes and a lot of painful flashbacks
I’m sorry for your tears dear Shivani.
Be kind and loving to yourself.