My boys and I went to see the new movie “Home” Saturday night. Dozer was away preparing for her competition yesterday in Miss Dallas Teen, so we snuck out for a kid movie. It was cute, with decent animation and a sweet story line. I was struck by some of the themes, notably the thought that our problems always find us, and eventually they courageously have to be faced head on. Sometimes, you have to bravely run towards the monster to make things right.
What a wonderful lesson for kids! Our problems don’t leave us. Sometimes they grow in epic proportions, and sometimes they stay with us, quietly gnawing away at the fabric of who we are. Sometimes our problems are ones we’ve created in our own minds and are figments of our own reality. It is always better to take honest inventory of ourselves and our lives, finding what isn’t working, what might be making us fall short of our goals. Finding those places and recognizing our shortcomings is a giant step towards emotional maturity. We can show our children how to do this, by doing it ourselves. Then, we can model how to take action and muster the courage to move past our darker parts. Sometimes it can be as simple as an apology when we’ve made a mistake.
It’s okay to apologize to your children! Do it often, and do it well. Get on their level, look in their eyes, and sincerely apologize. They need to see that we are human, and they need to see us acknowledge the parts of us that fall short, and they need to see us reach past our limitations and become better people. What a gift this is for our young people, to grow up seeing the adults in their lives freely admitting their faults, and actively pursuing personal betterment. What a gift for our society!How many of us know adults who are unable to own up to their mistakes, unable to take personal responsibility? As parents, we have the power to change this. We have the power to raise a generation of children who aren’t afraid to look deep into themselves and see the not-so-pretty parts, and then make friends with those parts so that all the pieces can learn from one another and grow into a fully self-actualized adult.
Is it scary? You bet! It isn’t fun for me to verbalize that I’m not always the best listener, which is something I’m really working on in my own life. I tend to be self-involved and self-centered and I own that. And now, I’m working on it. I’m talking to my kids about these undesirable traits in myself, and how I’m planning to get better, to be a better me. My children get to see this. Just like “Oh” in the movie, I’m choosing not to run and am instead facing these issues, and bringing my children with me so that they may learn the power and mastery that comes from honestly dealing with a problem and moving through it. The best part, though? Through my own actions, I’m showing my children how to love themselves, warts and all.