Planting the Seeds for Tomorrow
It’s been an interesting few weeks of parenting at our house. I have been watching as my girls are really beginning to develop their personalities and patterns. With this change and growth, I feel a strong sense of responsibility in knowing that the seeds that are planted today are going to be the ones that will flourish tomorrow. I want to do everything I can as a parent so that they can engage with life in a way that is meaningful and empowering.
Being a mom of two girls, I am already starting to understand the power of learning to say no at a young age. Saying no can be very uncomfortable. It requires confidence, courage and, ideally, is rooted in kindness and empathy. The kindness and empathy points are important so that “no” does not become a way in which we separate ourselves from others. Instead “no” is a way to stand firmly and comfortably in who we are even when it goes against the grain, while still feeling connected and kind.
Girls especially can go down the path of being “people pleasers”. People pleasing can be risky business, and so it becomes even more important to learn how to be true to who we are and treat ourselves with a great amount of respect while expecting others to do the same. I find that sometimes in the desire to belong and feel accepted, we can lose ourselves in the process. We can say yes for the wrong reasons and these patterns will follow us if we do not take the time and care to know that they are forming.
I have been having talks with my girls about exactly this. I want to encourage them to have the awareness to know whether they are being treated fairly and to have the courage to stand up for themselves when they are not. Whether that means saying no or standing apart from a group or a friend, it will require deep courage and intuition. I also want them to learn to recognize when things do not feel right. When what someone is asking of them does not feel responsible or honorable. I know this seems like a lot to ponder for a seven and eight year old, but I think children have greater capacity for awareness, understanding and intuition than they are sometimes credited for. The risk of challenging my girls to do this now is low. When they are sixteen and seventeen, the challenges and the circumstances might be more complex, and perhaps these patterns will already be ingrained. Awareness, intuition, and courage will feel like second nature. As a mom, I certainly hope so and I will make my best efforts to plant those seeds today.