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Parents Notebook

Parents Notebook: Reflections on Mother’s Day

Nazim, my 10-year-old grandson asked why they didn’t want to show bin Laden’s pictures.  This question led to my sharing my dismay with killing and revenge.  While we both felt sympathy for the September 11th victims, we also sympathized with the countless victims of wars period, those in other countries.  Nazim suggested the Armed Forces carry a “Truce Flag” and that both sides be ordered to work on finding a truce – no truce was not an option.  I shared with him that my vision was Peace on the Planet and that we, humans, have a long way to go.  And I also told him that his truce theory could begin with each of us and members of our family.
The conversation with Nazim took place while I drove him to school.  We had reached a nonverbal truce after the prior morning’s drive was filled with him being disgruntled and complaining because I insisted we return home for him to pick up his book bag that he discovered he didn’t have.  He was trying to convince me he didn’t need it because of exams, and getting more and more upset with me, saying I was making him late for the test and he would have to take it over at the end of the year.  The debate went on for the entire trip.  When I told him I got that he was debating and had to be right.  He insisted we were having a conversation.  Needless to say I did a lot of deep breathing.  And here we were the next day, back to cooperative conversations, him sharing a passage from the book he was reading and asking me the meaning of the word “Caddie”.   But then it has always been observed that children fight one minute and resume playing the next.  It’s adults who muffle their anger but hold grudges for decades and because we don’t get rid of the anger, it holds us prisoner and we declare war on each other, killing the relationships that we need to prosper, relationships necessary to create peace, necessary for saving the planet.  So the question I pose is how do we allow  the children to lead us – to save us – to save the planet.
I’ve been in this classroom for half a century and I’m still learning.  As a grandparent, I see that it’s less about me so I empathize with parents – dealing with the pressures – may grow impatient and the emotional and spiritual needs of children are usurped by material wants.
.In raising  SMART children , the S is the foundation on which everything else depends.  It stands for Self-Worth which describes how your child sees him or her self as a person.  It starts with  how parents and others close  view him.  We, mothers,  fathers ,grandparents, aunties, uncles plant the seeds of self-worth or unworthiness in our daily interactions with our children.   We need to own this role and know that we and our children must know that we are worthy and that worthiness can not be defined by others..
1.  Explore various methods of self-discovery and self-knowledge.  The multiple -intelligence inventory is a simple way of children having their interests and strengths being affirmed.  In African and other cultures, expectant mothers received readings of the child to learn the child’s purpose. These religious practices still exist here.    Numerology and Astrology are non-religious methods.   You’ll be able to recognize what’s true and ultimately decide the credibility of the information.  We must find our way back to SELF and allow our children to know themselves so they can create a better world.
2.  Self-Confidence is the other S component and it’s measured by behavior.  A child may be self-confident at home but become shy and withdrawn in other environments.  We can increase self-confidence in needed areas by creating ways for child to overcome – NOT by ridiculing or forcing.   My granddaughters, Nailah and Malaika were terrified of dogs at one time….every encounter on the sidewalk was met with extreme fright and hysteria.  I bought a colorful notebook and informed them that they would earn a star for every dog that they passed without freaking out.  And at the end of the week, a certain percentage of dogs met without hysteria would earn a treat.  This practice grew from hesitancy to wanting to cross the street in order to meet the dog and Malaika having to be discouraged from touching dogs.
This Mother’s Day, I invite Mothers and/or Grandmothers to join me in Raising SMART children, transforming problems into projects and making family work.  email or call 718-783-0059 for more info