Empowering or ignoring kids starts when they are young. When my parents where growing up, the motto was children should be seen but not heard. In my house, they should be seen, heard, appreciated, listened too and believed. It’s a tricky walk as parents to support the sometimes inconvenient voice of our children. Sometimes, to be honest, I really don’t want to hear what they have to say. Especially when they are all talking at once! In those moments, when I am picking them up after a long day at work, it’s dark, we’re hungry and they ALL want to share at the same time, I breathe. I ask them a question, give them a mint, or a book or a smile and tell them that I would love to hear what they have to share, after my shoes are off.
Tonight after my shoes were off, all three of them had songs they wanted to perform, they learned them today at school. 24 things are going through my head, I need to start dinner, I wonder if I signed that form, that meeting tomorrow is going to be interesting… What a perfect time to be in the moment, to practice mindfulness. So I breathe, and honor the voices of my children. I listen to three beautiful songs, complete with choreography. Delightful. Deep down, we all just want to be heard. We all deserve that. I don’t do this perfectly, by any means, but tonight I did well. I had my priorities in alignment…kids/love, then dinner/chores/everything else.
Tonight was our house meeting. We have them once a week to check in with each other about schedules, organization, chores, interests, etc. My daughter chose to be the secretary, so she writes everything down. We go around the room and say what we would like to discuss, my daughter writes. And then we take turns. I ask people to close the doors more quietly, my son says he would like to do more music, my other son wants help organizing his closet, and so on. We close the meeting by saying something we appreciate about someone in the group. And then have a group hug.
My kids are 5, 8 and 10 and they are making things happen in their lives by sharing their voice. And having that voice heard and respected. Last week my youngest son said he wanted to do more art. We have done “Art Night” three times this week. He also inspired me to pick up my paints, I am almost done with a new painting. Children are magic, inspirational beings, who make life full to the brim with love. It is my honor to listen to their voices… preferably when my shoes are off. Empowerment starts when they are young. So the next time a kiddo says, “Can I tell you something?” at an inconvenient time, breathe and choose love.