Love, Respect and Disagreement

I don’t have to agree with you to love and respect you.This is a phrase that I have been pondering lately. I find that it applies to two areas in my motherhood, my relationship to children and especially my relationship with other parents, caregivers and friends.

With children, there are many things we disagree with on a daily basis, like whether or not shoes should be worn outside, or if we should feed the dogs our dinner, or if it’s a good idea to eat bugs that are found in the dirt. “I don’t want you to do that.”  Is a phrase that I say more often, but I would like to start saying “I don’t agree with that.” I like the latter because in that instance it implies that both myself and the child have opinions that matter. When I simply say that I don’t want something to happen, while being honest, I am still never allowing room for negotiation when it’s appropriate. There is never negotiation when it comes to health and safety, but perhaps eating bugs is something I can learn to understand even though it is SO gross to me. I have a boy, so I will have to learn to tolerate the gross. :) As Magda Gerber of RIE says: “Respect is the basis of the RIE hilosophy. We not only respect babies, we demonstrate our respect every time we interact with them. Respecting a child means treating even the youngest infant as a unique human being.

With adults, there are always things we disagree on, especially when it comes to parenting philosophies. We will never be in complete agreement with anyone because there are so many intricicities to parenting, well, to life actually! This is where it is important to say to another person, “You may not agree with this point of view and that is okay.” With all of my experience and information I have a great deal of opinions and ideas about parenting that I love to share, but this does not mean that I am ever right or better in my views. I recently had a conversation with a good friend about spanking and how I am not at all for spanking and she is. I really wrestled with this for awhile (and still am) but I am determined to come to a place where I accept and trust her point of view on the matter. I still love and respect that mother dearly, and her choice is her own. As a mother, teacher, nanny and friend, I will always strive to view any other parents choices in a positive light and come to peace with their choices.

I very much believe that our children come to us for a reason, for all of our good and all of the mistakes we will make as parents. It is our job to love and respect our children unconditionally throughout their lives, even when we completely disagree with their actions and our job as grow-up children to strive to see the good in our own parents. Perhaps we can work to extend this task to our parent peers as well; to learn to respect other parents choices and strive to remove our judgement of them. In doing this, our hearts may be lighter and our children may learn from our effort to be better human beings.

Here are a few GREAT books for working with your children: Dear Parent: Caring for Infants with Respect, By Magda Gerber and Bringing up Bebe, by Pamela Drukerman.

Here is a great book that will help remove judgement and cultivate love: The Four Agreements, by Don Miguel Ruiz. (Or read brief summery here)

Those are only a few books and I would LOVE to learn about more books to help me on this quest.

 

What are your thoughts? Does this seem like an impossible task to you or something to strive for? What would be something that you would struggle with in others parenting choices?

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Indoor Activities on Rainy Days? NO WAY!

I search the web with the terms “rainy day” and “toddler” and about 100 sites pop up that are all about indoor activities and play spaces to stay holed up indoors. Craziness! There are so many really wonderful things that happen on rainy days! Sure the sun is great, but you have to worry about the heat and exposure. In the rain, just put on a few layers of wool or fleece with some great rain gear and boots and you are all set! This is also a great opportunity to reverently watch your children discover the beauty of nature and experience the full spectrum of Mother Natures and God’s creations.

So, I have complied here 10 great things that your toddler will love to do OUTDOORS on blustery, rainy days!

1. Splash in puddles! Seriously, can you imagine anything better for a child than a great big pool of water to run through!

2. Play in the rivers that run from the drains. Such great problem solving skills are gained by rerouting and altering the flow of water. In our yard we have the perfect drain that flows a river down our entire yard.

3. Play with MUD. Worried about dirt? Fear not, it’s actually much safer to play in fresh mud in cool weathers than standing water in warm weather.

4. Watch the wind in the trees. Seems simple I know, but my boy will stand and watch wind in the bushes and trees for do long.

5. Watch the rain fall. Children are the best at meditating in nature, right? :)

6. Feel the rain on their little face.

7. Go for walks.

8. Experience cold and discomfort. I’m serious about this one, it’s a good thing to learn to adjust to uncomfortable things, to learn what temperature means. Though younger children, like babies and toddlers, cannot tell you if they are feeling cold, so be sure to check them often to make sure they are not too cold to be outside and be sure to have the proper gear.

9. Get healthy! Being outside is so great for your health, as long as you are so dry (rain gear) and warm (woolen underclothes).

10. Lastly, this is for after, drink warm mint tea while taking a warm bubble bath to warm up from outside. Follow this up with some cozy Mommy cuddles and you will have the perfect blustery day.