Trusting Their Captain

January 25, 2012

Several days ago off the coast of Italy, over 4000 passengers boarded a cruise ship fully believing that their safety would be the captain’s number one concern. I am confident that they all trusted that the captain and crew were competent, well educated, and committed to excellence. Those passengers would not have boarded the ship unless they felt certain that the captain and crew could lead them to safety should the ship encounter danger. As we know, the news tells a very different story. Although the full account of the tragedy has not yet unfolded, it appears that that the passengers’ trust might have been misplaced.

I thought about how our children come into this world and depend on the adults in their lives to be their captains until they can take the helm of their own ships. Children cannot survive without loving, informed, and committed adults. They arrive fully trusting that we will provide everything they need and that they can sit back, relax, and enjoy a wonderful childhood.

That tiny son can thrive as an infant because we attend to his cries knowing that crying is his way of communicating. He begins to express independence as a toddler, and his preschool years are an amazing time of discovery. One day we are listening to him “read” a picture book…and the next thing we know, he’s waving at us as he drives off alone for the first time. Prom arrives as does the long good-bye when he leaves for college. And in the blink of an eye, we see what a great captain he has become for his own children.

With a great captain, your child will thrive. Without a great captain, he is in grave danger. Trust is a beautiful thing. Be a great captain.

Written by Donna McClintock, COO with Children’s Choice Learning Centers, Inc.


Kindness

January 18, 2012

I AM a sports fan, but I don’t usually watch replays. And I certainly don’t search for clips of athletes to listen to what they had to say on the field. However, I watched a clip on Tim Tebow because of all the hype about him. I assumed that someone had posted this clip on Facebook either to show how religious he is or to humiliate him in light of the Denver Broncos’ huge loss this past weekend.

What I discovered was a guy just trying to play some football and showing kindness to his teammates…especially to those teammates who had made mistakes. Tim continually spoke winning words, and every word was positive and full of kindness. What I did NOT hear from him was religious slang or him trying to persuade someone to believe as he believes.

It really doesn’t matter to me whether you are religious or a Tebow fan. And it doesn’t matter if you believe the hype is just that—hype. Any mom who taught her son to speak words of kindness to those around him, especially in stressful times, should be commended.

Kindness heals. Kindness inspires. Kindness wins in the end regardless of whether you win or lose the game. Use whatever influences you can to instill a desire in your children to be kind to others. I am not suggesting one of those influences be Tim Tebow—I mention him only as an example. A look that says, “I still believe in you,” when the chips are down is a gift to anyone—no matter the age, religious affiliation or lack thereof, race, or economic status. We ALL need acts and words of kindness.

I think Mark Twain and Mother Theresa said it best:

Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.
~ Mark Twain
Spread love everywhere you go, but first of all in your own house.
~Mother Teresa

Dr. Phil has a statement that I love: “Sometimes common sense just isn’t that common.” Common sense parenting certainly seems rare. If my blog inspires just a few of you to use common sense with your children, I feel vindicated.

Take time this week to offer a gift of kindness to those around you, and teach your child the value of this gift. Use an illustration in your world to make your point. It doesn’t have to be a religious illustration—not that there is anything wrong with that—but let’s not overlook the basic good in people because we might not agree with everything they do.

Written by: Donna McClintock, COO with Children’s Choice Learning Centers, Inc.


What I Learned About Rough and Tumble Play

January 11, 2012

I am reading a book called Big Body Play by Frances M. Carlson. I highly recommend it because Ms. Carlson does a great job of explaining the difference between rough and tumble play and aggressive behavior. She spent three years researching the value of big body play, and the book is filled with wonderful information about WHY children need to be allowed to experience the risks and challenges that age-appropriate roughhousing offers.

As I was reading, I thought about all the times that I have personally said, “Be careful or you might get hurt,” to my children and grandchildren.  My husband just smiles and allows them to continue what they are doing. I understand that it truly takes us all to raise emotionally healthy children, and research confirms that men typically allow children to experience things with more risks involved than women do.

Parenting is tough. We work hard to protect our children from things that will hurt them, and then we hear we need to lighten up. We work hard to provide great gifts to them, and then we feel that we are indulging them. Yet when we hold back, we feel that we are depriving them. They do not arrive with a handbook, and we love them so much that we want to do it right.

I am confident of this: Your child will have a wonderful childhood if you love deeply, trust your instincts, seek knowledge, act responsibly, stretch your own understanding to include new ways of thinking, and surround you and your child with a loving village of support.

You might go through seasons of being a hovering parent, or you might let your child get hurt because you didn’t stop her from jumping off of a ledge that was just a little too high, or you might have to wipe away some tears because you tried something that didn’t work out right. But remember this: We are ALL growing, learning, and walking through this thing called LIFE together.

As I read Ms. Carlson’s book, I feel badly that I didn’t allow my children, who are now ages 19, 30 and 33, to roughhouse as much as I should have. Perhaps their spatial and cognitive skills were affected by my protective ways, but maybe the village around them provided balance. However, I am seeking knowledge and will try to put it to work on my beautiful grandchildren.

Written by Donna McClintock, COO Children’s Choice Learning Centers, Inc.


Happy Is As Happy Does

January 4, 2012

If you think that your frame of mind does not affect your child, I would ask that you take a minute to reconsider. According to a recent study by Harvard University and the University of California, San Diego, one’s probability of being happy rises:

·       15.3% if a friend or family member is happy

·       9.8% if friends of your friend or family member are happy

·       5.6% if friends of the friends of your friend or family member are happy

So, these statistics prove that YOUR mood affects not only those around you but also those that your friends and family members touch.

At this time of year, take the time to put on a smile, think pleasant thoughts, and determine that you are going to raise the “happiness meter” for those you care about. Next time you start to lash out in frustration over something extremely petty, it might be worth a second thought. Would you like to raise the happiness meter around you by 15% or lower it?

I often say that I am the voice of the child, and I want to use my voice to speak for the child who cannot. Each child has only one childhood, and we have only one chance to get it right. I agree that it takes a community to provide the best for each child. Let’s resolve to be a community of happy people. There is enough true sadness in the world without us creating sadness over things that truly do not matter.

The stress of this time of year weighs heavily on many families. Spread happiness. It doesn’t cost a penny to smile and “be happy.”  Your family and friends will smile with you.

Written by Donna McClintock, COO with Children’s Choice Learning Centers, Inc.