Friday, July 30, 2010

Raising Children Not To Fear

Happy Friday! Benjo is home again, another day of rest to really get over whatever he's contaminated with. I think it is mainly cough and cold, too much phlegm that maybe went to his lungs. But he's all better and is enjoying a morning in front of the TV instead of the chalkboard. Joselyn, at first, also wanted to take the day off saying that her stomach ached. But I reminded her it was PE day and the stomach ache miraculously vanished and she said she wanted to go to school. Lol!

(above photo taken from yahoo images)

This morning while we adults were having breakfast, the kids took out their bubbles (bought last Tuesday at the QC Circle) and started blowing in the living room area. Jojo told them to stop 'cause it might blow on the food. Mom joined the chorus and said that bubbles weren't good anyway, that the chemicals in it may be poisonous. I didn't say anything, not wanting to contradict either and not wanting to add to the nagging.

But my real stance - let the kids be! Isn't it fun to play with bubbles, blow them and wait until they popped on their own in mid-air or hit another object? I joined them in doing just that yesterday, and it felt refreshing, almost revealing just looking at the different colors reflected in the bubbles. You almost wish that they wouldn't pop.

I'm continuing on my reading of Katharine Hepburn's "Me". What a childhood she had! And what wonderful parents too. They let them do almost anything, almost the opposite of the environment that I grew up in and that which my kids are growing up in. Her parents were, as she write, "forward-thinkers" of their time, being the forerunners in defending women, children, and the less fortunate and defending women suffrage. They let them do what they want, be as noisy as they want, encouraging athleticism by making ropes to swing on over their house and even attaching the sled in winter to their car while their dad swung them crazily around the neighborhood. Such stunts would make the average, well, even the above average of parents, go wild! To them, it was okay to try anything, even if you do get hurt in the process. It's hard not to compare it to our own upbringing and that of our children's.

I am the more liberal in the household, but I do try not to contradict Jojo or mom when they tell the children not to do something. Joselyn is a very acrobatic youngster, wanting to sit on top of the couch instead of on it, which has caused many shouts of "masasaktan ka!", "mahuhulog ka!" ("you will get hurt!", "you will fall!"). We are so scared of being hurt or seeing our loved ones hurt. But there should be a line between real danger and perceived (or almost paranoid) danger.

When the kids were younger, I would allow them to do somersaults, trying to teach them the right technique, which I learned back when I was in elementary in Duffy Primary School (Canberra, Australia). I try it myself and they get a laugh out of that. When they do it successfully, they feel so proud of themselves. It's been awhile since we've played that way and I think we will try it again before the fear that we've sowed in them from all the nagging gets too rooted.

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