I have been a father for 7 years now and as all parents will tell you, time definitely flies! I like to use this day not to pat myself on the back or kick my feet up and relax but rather to think about my growth as a person, father and a member of society.
One thing all parents learn quickly is that in order to have your children behave in the manner you would like them to, you have to behave that way yourself. But lets take that a step further. How can the way we interact, communicate and discipline our children determine what kind of personality the child develops and what their motivation(s) in life might be?
The Good Ole Days
Many of us parents harken back to the day when we were being raised and our parents only “had to ask us once.” Amongst ourselves, us parents bemoan the fact that once upon a time kids respected their parents and if we would get out of line, well we got “pow right in the kisser.” Of course that myth is often different than the reality. If we were to ask our parents and they asked their parents, despite the spankings, we still didn’t jump when they said how hi.
So as a dad my best friend is patience. I constantly toe the line between the easy way and the harder way. Wanting my daughter to listen to me, obey my directions, not because she is afraid of me but because she believes in me. It takes a very long time but teaching your children to understand their actions will give them a deeper reservoir for thought and inspire critical thinking in your child and promote empathy. Knowing that they are a part of a bigger whole will help your child figure out what path to follow in their daily lives as their interact with others and shape their world.
Dancing in the New World
If we are to build a society, change the world and fill it with folks that care about each other, then we truly need to start with our children. We need to realize that while their might be some merit to the old ways of doing things, we need to look to new ways of raising our children that emphasize understanding, peace, harmony and true respect. We must always watch our words and behavior around children. Even the most seemingly innocuous words might effect a child’s world-view.
For example at the Rail Yards Market there was a demonstration for pixilated animation and my daughter Marisol, my partner Yvette and I decided that we wanted to be animated. We wondered what should we do. We thought, “what about fight poses” and then I thought about it and said no, “there is enough violence in our society, we are going to do a dance, we need more dancing in our society.” Check out the animated video below. (Thanks to Donnine Canamara for the wonderful video).
Respect vs. Fear
Next time you get a chance and before your child misbehaves, which is inevitable, think about our current society: the chaos, conflict and tragedy. It is our creation, and we are a product of the “traditional” methods of disciplining children which bases its foundation upon fear. Now think about the world you want your children to live in and remember that they will be the architects of our future society. Give them the tools to create a world that is based upon equality, caring, giving, helping, sharing, and collaboration. Through patience during your interactions with them on those tough moments you will be teaching them to think critically, and thoughtfully. Hopefully, with these tools, they will build a world built on empathy, filled with “true” love for all and based upon mutual respect. In the video below my little girl sings the classic Somewhere Over the Rainbow: With our help, our children can make that special place a reality.
Alex Paramo is an Author and Co-Founder of Community Publishing. Community Publishing brings local artists of all mediums together in creative collaborations for distribution as multimedia eBooks while promoting literacy in our communities.