I normally don't talk about politics in polite company and I respect you as polite company!
However, this election season in America I have read several articles that were entitled "How to Talk to Your Kids about the Election." and I was severely disappointed. I was excited to read those articles. I wanted to share some advice for our Mindfulness parents on what they could tell their children about the stories that are swirling around on the candidates running for office this year and how to handle the many questions I am sure children must have.
But these articles did not deliver. Instead they were written by parents who understandably talked of how frustrated they were and how hard it was to explain the antics that have gone on during the past year. The consensus was they were basically at a point of throwing their hands up at the thought.
So, today, I am writing about the election and how you can talk to your kids about politics.
*This advice can go for any world event, local or otherwise.
The Four Ls: How to Talk to Your Children About the Election
Children are smart. Children hear a lot more than we think they do. Even when their eyeballs are glued to a screen, if they hear something of interest, they will listen. It is time we listen to the children.
Pay attention when they talk to their friends, families, you. What do they say about the world? What do they say about being president? What are their feelings? What words do they use? Be open. Be empathetic. Listen.
In the past week I have heard children talk. The words they use are straight from the news, yet they have begun to claim it as their own. Teaching critical thinking skills comes from allowing our children to question everything, learn for themselves what they feel is true, and then forming their own beliefs from it.
Asking leading questions to spark personal opinion from the child's view can create a better understanding of what is happening with these human beings who are asking for our vote.
"Do you feel this way? Why?"
"If someone said that about you, how would it feel?"
Asking children about their feelings can help them process what it is they do hear and help them understand. For kids it is like watching their parents fight. It is dis-concerning. It is worrisome to watch adults get in arguments. Children like and need to know that they are being taken care of by adults who do know better. We might not always know better, but we can help them process it by listening to their answers and being open to their feelings.
The 24 hour news cycle has created a system in which the same sound bites get played over and over and people ramble on and cause fights just to fill up the hours. Children, especially young children, are very susceptible to the feelings, anger, words, and arguments going on the news. They are also very open and emphatic to your words and feelings and the feelings of their family members.
They can know the facts, but knowing what is age appropriate is important. A preschooler can know who is running for President, but to be fed fear or anger, worry or angst simply causes undo stress. That is the adult's job and the adult's world. A teenager might have more opinions, but might also be rebellious just because. Knowing what social and emotional development age your child is in allows you to know what is appropriate or not.
That being said, even asking family members not to discuss or get in heated debates around young children over politics is appropriate. Kids take in much more feelings about issues than the issues themselves. Being aware of what they are seeing, knowing, and exposed to in whatever way you can allows them to be kids. They are kids, after all. Children aren't allowed to vote at 6 years old for a reason. (Can you imagine the candy and toy lobbyists that would create? :)
Lead by example. This election has brought up massive amounts of fear on both, all, and any sides across the world. My personal take on the process has helped give a few parents narrative for their families, so I will share it here.
This time of our lives is about bringing things to light. That which has been hidden in the dark for eons is now coming forward. With technology and the internet, we are now in the information age. The information age means that ALL things are brought to light. We are being given a choice to accept or reject those things being brought up.
Ask yourself. What are you accepting? What are you rejecting? What feelings is it bringing up in you? What is it you are really afraid of? Doing our own personal work to address the personal issues we may have about the changes in our world helps us to be better models and leaders for the children.
What words do you use when talking about the world today? This election? This world? Even yourself? You do have the power to change the narrative and give your children the chance to do the same.
4. Let Go
Take a breath. A big one!!! The reason our competitions for leadership are so intense is because being human is an intense job! We as human beings are so diverse and unique. To get one or two to agree on something takes a lot of doing. The world stage is simply a reflection of our inner stage, our local stages, our smaller communities, and the feelings within ourselves.
Right now it seems to be a time of great intensity. Letting go of that to enjoy just a bit lets the air out of the balloon before it pops! Breathe. Go watch a sunset. Play on the playground. Kick off your shoes and go run on the beach, walk on the lawn, draw on the sidewalk, ride your bikes! Let your teenager stay up late to watch movies together. Enjoy the time with family.
Live your life.
Living is a difficult journey. Taking time to enjoy the journey, go play, relax, and unwind is an important part of the journey! It makes it worth living. No guilt, and no politics allowed!
Oh! And one more:
Love is the foundation of family. It is the foundation of life. Knowing no matter the politics of others, the disagreements we have with others, that at the bottom of it all there is still and will always be love? That's a lesson to live by.
May love find its way to you today as we go through the next three weeks and the years to come. Let it be the foundation of your home and you can handle anything, even an American election.
With all my love ~ Jeannine
Founder and contributor: MindfulnessMothers.com
I want to share something that is bringing up a lot for me right now.
Not all the time at everything, but sometimes at some things. When this happens I generally am more affected by the reaction of those around me than I am by my own reaction. Mostly because my own reaction tends to be quite loving and soft. I am gentle with myself as much as I can be and it has taken many years to cultivate this loving attitude toward myself. And generally, I am quite gentle and loving with others. Before I was this way toward myself, I was not always able to be this way toward others. I care way too much about what others think and how they react, especially those close to me, and I let it affect me WAY too much. I know I forgive myself, I know that when I fail, I only truly incur negative energy if give up or am blind to the reason why I failed. Sometimes I fail because whatever I was trying to do would not have served my greatest purpose here on Earth and was ultimately just a distraction from my path.
Two years ago I busted my ass in a 63 hour real estate class that ended with the hardest exam I have ever taken. Many people fail two and three times before they get the 70 out of 100 questions correct that are required to be licensed in Florida. I gave everything I had, all my time, all my energy, my all, and I walked out of those two weeks of work and exams feeling amazing because I did not fail. I passed. I knew I could, and I truly thought at that time that a career in real estate was what I wanted.
I thought that because my life was in shambles. I was not happy at my job, my relationship was on the fritz, I was living in a home that was being rented to me and yet was also being foreclosed on, I was trying to make a choice that would create stability for my family. Was I filled with joy at the prospect of being a real estate agent? No. Not at all. Did I think I could do it to help my family have what they want? Yes. So, I gave it my all. And, I passed. And, I did nothing with my license for two years because, as I have learned once again, I cannot do anything that is not in alignment with my highest purpose here on planet Earth. And, that path was not.
But, because I thought that I should probably at least keep my license active, I decided a week ago, that I should probably take the 45 hour post license class and exam so that my license would not be revoked... just in case I could be a referral agent if that situation ever presented itself. So, last week, among all the other responsibilities that I have in my life right now I thought, "why not throw one more iron in the fire!".
I mean, I'm only doing online school with two of my three children, nourishing and caring for one infant, I only have one child in public school, I'm only organizing one free market for my community to enrich and grow together while we help each other and hopefully find a tribe of like minded humans, I am only starting one cultured beverage business right now, I only have one house to take care of, one dog, and two cats. I only have one relationship that I am devoted to becoming the best version of myself for so that I can be the best partner for. I am only cooking almost all the meals for a family of six, doing almost all the cleaning and laundry and day to day work that it takes to run a house of six humans and four pets (oh I forgot to mention the only one fish that we have here too). Since my partner is almost exclusively the breadwinner and works two jobs, I am almost exclusively the one taking care of almost everything else. So why not think that I can go to school to be an alternative medicine doctor,? Why not think that I can cram for a 45 hour class and exam in three or four days? Why not?
Because I'm not superhuman. And. Because. I. Fail.
And, I failed last night as I was racing the clock to finish an exam that I didn't even really want to take because I don't even really want to be a realtor because I don't really understand anything about how buying and selling land makes any sense. I don't see imaginary lines on the Earth, places that are "worth" more than others etc etc etc. I am thankful to those that are realtors and are passionate about what they do. But, I am not passionate about devoting my life to that, and that's okay.
It's okay for me to fail at something I don't even want. I actually laughed at myself when I saw the final score of 60/100 and needed 75/100 to pass because I had a brief flash back of the past few days of trying to study while my children were running in and out of the house with multiple friends, counseling appointments, a sick baby, driving to Tampa to buy bottles for my new business, purchasing labels, a website, schooling online with Raven and Imani and everything else. I laughed to myself because I waited two years to take a test that I didn't want to take, and ended up taking it because I was afraid that if I didn't I would be failing at something. And, of course, I failed anyway. Because I didn't want it. Because it wasn't in my soul. But man I felt like shit thinking about how my family would look at me for being so irresponsible and for failing to prepare and failing to take the class earlier and for failing failing failing at everything else I have failed at in my life.
I love myself and am okay with my failures because they have taught me where my heart truly sits and which direction fuels my soul most.
My fear of my family thinking I was failing was why I decided I should do it. The fear of my family thinking I am a failure is like a black hole in my soul. I don't want to care so much about what others think of me and I am not sure that it is in my best interest to care so much, so in my most recent failure I have discovered that I am being asked to open to my own love and acceptance being enough for me. Afterall, I am the only one inside this silly skin suit and I am really the only one I have to hear think...
And you know what? I think I am a pretty cool chick. I think I do procrastinate and sometimes it
actually serves me, if not, I always learn from it. I think I handle the responsibilities and irons in my fire with grace for the most part. I think I am a really good mother. A good community member. A woman who loves herself and is devoted to her conscious evolution. A woman who loves her partner with all her heart and is devoted to his conscious evolution as well. I think I am doing a good job right now. One. Breath. At. A. Time.
<3 - Mama Lauren Isis Love
Find her on Facebook Thanks for letting us share Lauren! #truth #courage #love
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