While the phrase “It takes a village to raise a child” was often heard at one time, we may think that the village was simply a thing of the past. While it’s true that the physical appearance of villages have changed over the years, nurturing is still needed and we must provide it. The daily news of our children falling prey to gun violence, imprisonment, stop-and-frisk and other atrocities serve as a wake -up call. While some may choose equality with whites as the fundamental issue, there are others who cite practices of the US that leaves the country in danger from other countries as well as Mother Earth. The choices I made when my children were growing up were influenced by the movement to erase racial barriers. Today, with thirteen grandchildren, I want more. I want to have them value life over “things” and equip them to create a society that values humanity more than “things” in honor of their forefathers by creating a world that works for everyone with no one left out.
With the mission of unleashing the innate genius of our children, parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts need to take inventory, recognize and note strengths, talents possessed among each other. That’s a first step in deprogramming the negative devaluing we’ve inherited as a race – discovering, owning and appreciating our innate genius (it’s never too late). Make a family tradition of catching a family member doing what they do well and acknowledge them at family gatherings. We then connect activities that utilize the child’s strengths or interests empowering them to succeed in all areas and activate a love for learning and exploring new things at home and school.
SMART is the Parent’s Notebook’s acronym for Self-determining, Motivated, Achieving, Responsible, Team-oriented individuals. During this era of mass confusion, our children’s future is dependent upon test scores and not upon developing their individual innate genius. That is no longer acceptable. PN implore parents, caretakers and educators to join the movement for our children – for discovering and growing the intelligences possessed by the children in our care. You are invited to share activities and projects used that grow your child’s intelligence in areas of interest. The greatest gift that we can give to youth of all ages is that “You were born with talent and ability yet to be discovered. It’s time to discover and unleash the genius”.
To adults and parents who interact regularly with youth, join PN in this commitment to discover and nurture the innate genius of our young people, to provide opportunities for them to express their ideas, to become helpful in home management and make the grade in school and any other area of their lives. The following recommendations will support you and your child in making the grade.
1. Make peace with your past. This includes forgiving your parents for whatever you think they did to you or did not do for you, regardless of how much agreement you have from others that your sibling was the favorite.
2. Take time to discover and connect with what brings you joy. We’re programmed to make choices based on external standards. Find what you love and create a way to do it.
3. Take responsibility for the relationship that produced your child. Our children’s self-esteem suffers when they don’t have relationships with both parents. So you and your partner may not have had a purpose for your relationship at one time, but now you do – saving and supporting your child.
4. Give your child individual attention regularly. Find special pockets of time for each of your children. It may only be five minutes, but those few minutes focused on that child sends a message – “With all the things my parents have to do, I am important!”
5. Acknowledge your child’s feelings. Feelings are transient if they are expressed. If stifled, they can negatively affect the child’s perception of self and others for years. Instead of criticizing the feeling, help your child get to the source – in touch with how it makes him or her feel. And make sure to get feelings, not thoughts.
We’ll list more next time Until then, choose to take the challenge and empower your offspring. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for suggested actions for 1-5 collected from parents who shared ways they produced results of making their children winners. Yes we can!