Lesson 7: Look for the good and let the rest go.

Welcome back! I hope the new year is off to a great start for you my reader! If you’ve been following my blog you know that I’ve devoted 10 posts to lessons my husband and I learned from our grandparents. If you’re new around here, you can start with my post Looking Forward, Reflecting Back.

Lesson 7: Look for the good and let the rest go. This lesson is timeless. Every generation, every century has its different people and different challenges. Isn’t that what makes the world so exciting? If we were all the same, it would be so boring. I don’t know about you, but I’m intrigued to learn from people of different backgrounds. The more I talk to people, the more commonalities I find we all have. We all gravitate towards those who share similar experiences to our own, but that doesn’t mean we can’t also accept others who are different from us. Accepting others is not to say you have to be BFFs with them!

Our grandparents, Bop and Gram were both introverted. They were good listeners. Bop would talk to pretty much anyone as he got older. He always asked for people’s names, and would ask questions about what they did, where they were from. He enjoyed hearing  other people’s stories and sharing his own. He never judged someone or compared himself to others. Going out to eat with Bop was a fun adventure because he always conversed with the waitresses and listened to their stories. Bop saw going out to eat as an opportunity to socialize. With people he didn’t even know. In Bop’s lifetime he moved around a lot, which gave him the ability to make friends easily. As a young boy he was often responsible for finding food and a room for himself and his father who had a drinking problem and hopped from one job to the next. Bop didn’t harbor his feelings on his father who struggled with drinking, he focused on making connections with people so he could survive. Later in life, when Bop would tell stories about moving about so much, he always focused on the positives and what he learned along the way.

Gram was a little more outspoken at times, yet she had a very quiet way of letting you know when she disapproved of someone, but she also had a way of saying, “It’s not for me to judge.” She forgave easily and didn’t hold grudges. Even when Gram was hurt by people, she stayed strong, and I can still hear her voice in my head saying, “Let’s just let it go.”  Gram knew that putting energy into the positive was going to get her farther than exhausting her energy on the negatives. She was also a strong woman who spoke up when she felt it was necessary, but she did it in a productive, nonviolent way.

Bop and  Gram grew up during a different time when acceptance of others wasn’t always the norm. Not even close. They also lived in a time when great changes amongst different races evolved. They were not perfect. They were human. They had social biases, we all do, yet they accepted people for who they were. They weren’t trying to change others to be what they wanted. They did not use violence or hatred towards others.

Times are very different now, and we’ve come so far from the early to mid 1900’s, but we still have A LOT of work to do with accepting others for who they are. And who they are NOT.  Recent events in politics and the pandemic of 2020 has shown us that people won’t always agree with you. Are we accepting others for who they are? Or are we creating more inequalities? While I’m disheartened that when we wear our masks we can’t see each other’s smile, I do see the positive aspect of all of us having to look one another in the eyes!

Here’s a song to remember to look for the good!

Thank you for reading!

-Kristen

Teaching with Toys

Unique Mermaid
Unique the Mermaid

I LOVE how teachable moments come up when you least expect them to! A colleague of mine once said, “Sometimes it’s good not to have a plan.”  The best lessons are not always written in the lesson plan.

My girl got a new mermaid toy while on vacation and after 24 hours, it broke. While she got very upset about a crack in the mermaid’s body, I tried to console her. I didn’t want to offer to buy another one, as that would’ve been a waste of money. We can’t always just replace things because they are broken. We have to sometimes work with them, try to fix them, and sometimes, they just don’t need to be replaced! And hey, what better time to teach her that not all things broken or flawed need to be replaced.  So I took the opportunity to talk with her about how this mermaid is UNIQUE!

Being mindful and having my own mindfulness practice has really helped me in these parenting moments. Here’s how it went:

Me: “Smell the flowers, and blow out the candles. Let’s do it together. Breathe.”

After 5 rounds of breath, she was calm enough to have the conversation. (Regulation skills)

Me: “Look at this crack, this doesn’t mean she needs to be replaced, this means she is SPECIAL!”

E: With eyes lit up, “What do you mean special Mommy?”

Me: “Well, only your mermaid has this crack, that makes her unique. None of the other mermaids in the store have this special crack.” 

E: “Okay, I will keep her.”

She went about her play and I haven’t heard a peep about it since!

Using her toy as a tool to teach her a really important life lesson was making it easier for her to understand. Learning through play is evidence based in building executive functions, problem solving, resiliency, and so much more in young children.

For more information and resources on PLAY for young children, and all that it teaches them, check out NAEYC (National Association for Early Childhood).

 

Discomfort

I’ve stopped asking myself why and how I got so comfortable. All I know is that living life in complete comfort leaves no room for change. Living a life on auto pilot takes us out of discomfort, but then we loose our sense of spontaneity and curiosity. Discomfort leaves a little bit of mystery.

Discomfort means lacking ease, uneasiness, or mild pain. However when we really think about it there are probably a million times a day that we experience discomfort. In order to learn we must experience discomfort. Then with practice comes progress and we can move to the next step.

The other day I was playing hide and seek with my Doodle. I thought about hiding in the usual spots, but then I thought why not try to slide under the bed like she does? She’s less than 4 feet tall, it’s easy and comfortable for her to hide there. As she counted quickly to 20, I scrunched myself under that bed, hopeful it might take her a little more time to find me. After she looked in all the usual spots, she was SURPRISED to find me under the bed!

My discomfort was totally worth her giggles of glee!

When we embrace our discomfort as a momentary, experience there is a surprise waiting on the other side.

What’s the last thing you did that gave you discomfort?