Kwanzaa is the time that families of the EAST and Uhuru Sasa Shule gather meeting and greeting the offspring of those who were youth themselves in the 70s. Kwanzaa 2013, held Dec. 29th at For My Sweet Claver Place and Fulton, sent the message of the difference parents make in shaping the lives of children and the impact they make on their community and ultimately the world.
The Notebook will be sharing some Then and Now Moments from that community and invite readers to share yours. While the world in which we live is filled with hostility and violence, we the people can and must create a new world, one that nurtures our children to grow and create a sane world. So the Parents Notebook’s New Year’s Resolution is finding families with generations of can-do offspring. It’s time we as a people stop comparing and competing with others and acknowledge ourselves and our offspring for the treasures that they are. Parents and grandparents – consider yourselves gardeners and share the seeds and the results. We can and must recreate community for the children. Their lives and their future depend on it.
Assignments to do at home and share results: Get to know your child
Observe what he enjoys doing. Make sure you schedule those activities regularly or save them for rewards or special occasions.
Catch them doing something right often – Look for opportunities to say “Great Job” as often as you can. Find a gentle way to correct. Instead of an impatient “No” or “That’s not right”, perhaps say “Ummm maybe you could try it another way” and suggest another way, working with the child now not ordering or judging…
Give child individual attention regularly. Find a pocket of time for each of your children. It may be a mere five minutes but those few minutes focused on that child sends a message “With all my parents have to do, I am important!” Needless to say special trips and activities always make a difference.
Acknowledge your child’s feelings. Children have feelings and they should be allowed to express them. Emotions are transient as long as they can be expressed. If stifled they may affect the child’s perception of people and things. Instead of criticizing the child, help the child get to the source by helping him identify the feeling that triggers the feeling of being capable. Older children will probably go outside your box, and then be prepared to present rational reasons, never “Because I said so”.
Accept and honor your child’s uniqueness. Our children come through us and it is our duty to nurture them and give them wings. If we are nurtured, we grow to express our uniqueness and contribute to the world. If we’re not, we wander the world looking for it to provide us with a sense of well being. Does not the seed know what it is and what it’s come to do. Provide the nurturing and trust nature to provide the direction.
Let your child contribute. Chores allow children to know they can contribute to the household. Find skills and talents your child possess and create ways for them to be used. 10 year old Nailah selects the garments I wear for different events; her 7 year old sister, Malaika, matches my scarves with garments and Azana 5 counts and wraps pennies I collect. She is now eagerly awaiting her next project.
Allow your child to choose. Find opportunities for child to choose from a selection of sanctioned options.
We need to stop the attacks, blame and criticisms. Simply state the facts so that constructive action can happen. Start listening to yourself to hear what your child hears from you. Know that it might not be easy since we’re generally repeating or reacting to what we grew up with. We’re killing the self-esteem of our youth – our future. All adults must get it – it simply has to stop. The buck stops here with each and every adult. Another way to keep families connected: Look for birthdays in the same month and create ways to acknowledge them collectively. What suggestions can you offer? Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org.