How can we teach our kids to be better than us?

July 14, 2013

It’s Sunday night, and as I sit to do my weekend/Monday post, I’m having a very hard time articulating the feelings I have had all day. By this time, I’m usually ready to schedule the post and enjoy a nice night in front of the TV. Nothing is working. Three drafts, unkind words and even tears have been drawn by me.

Even though I was reluctant to do so much social media for this blog, I have to admit that I have grown to love it. Today, of all days, I should have stayed away. The truth is, it’s unrealistic to stay away when we are accustomed to receive breaking news by the second and at a time when we want to know what everyone in the world is thinking. Conversations that occurred in the privacy of our homes are happening publicly. I have become dependent on it.

And every now and then, a big controversy occurs, and things spiral out of control. People are angry or happy and want to be heard!! That is exactly what social media is for. Today though, social media commentary added to the pain I felt when I heard the news right before going to be last night and the news I heard when I woke up this morning. So instead of paying attention to my ill-behaved children, I was glued to my iPhone and computer, shaking as I read people’s status updates and tweets. Baffled by the clear division and anger the Zimmerman trial caused so many to feel. And my heart ached for Trayvon Martin’s mother. Glancing at my own boys, fully aware that they have been out of control lately, I worried about them for just being.

I worry about the regular stuff all parents have worried about since the beginning of time. Nonetheless, times are different, yes? We are oh so very public. And I wonder:

How can I guarantee that I am raising kind, empathetic, smart children? How do I make sure they are not spoiled, bratty, and defiant to others? Or rude, mean, and maybe too confident? Too confident that they always think they are right? So right that they can’t respect other’s opinions? How can I show them to have conversations without insulting? Can I teach them to stand their ground when schools teach them not to fight back? Will avoiding fights make them wimps? Cowards? How can I teach my three boys to react better to criticism than I do? How can I teach my boys to be competitive without being divisive? How can I teach them to be passionate without being pushy? How can I teach them to believe, but not too loudly? How can I teach them to defend, without attacking? How do I parent without shaming, cowering, and drawing back?

How can we teach our children to be better than us?

I don’t know.

I do know that we are having different interactions with each other, and in this very modern time, we have to get it right.

As always, I had my weekly list of  links for you, however, I think these four are more than enough for today. Please check them out. They are very moving, hopeful and helpful.

“If there is only one thing that people read in the aftermath of the verdict, it needs to be this.”

Empathy starts at home.

How fourth-graders view the world.

An example of how we are all consciously trying.

What are you thinking? Let’s have a good week!

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  • Reply Kali July 15, 2013 at 8:36 am

    Thank you for sharing….the links were awesome resources too!
    Kali recently posted..I’m pregnant! // ¡Estoy embarazada!My Profile

  • Reply Marta ABilingualBaby July 15, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Hi!Thank you for this post! I will read the articles you suggest this evening, too. Best regards from Barcelona,
    Marta ABilingualBaby recently posted..British or American English?My Profile

    • Betty
      Reply Betty July 16, 2013 at 11:04 am

      Thank you Marta! The photographs of the fourth-graders are so humbling. I hope you enjoy them all.
      Betty recently posted..No More Soccer Mom Shoe WoesMy Profile

  • Reply Malinda Caudle-Saito July 15, 2013 at 2:37 pm

    Such a good post Betty. As parents, we constantly think of these components in our children’s lives. But, when world events like this one happen, we truly re-examine and reflect on who we are and what we are teaching as parents. It all starts at home and home is the foundation for us all.

    • Betty
      Reply Betty July 16, 2013 at 11:08 am

      That’s it Malinda! The re-examination and reflection. My heart is still questioning… Thanks for stopping by and commenting! xoxo
      Betty recently posted..No More Soccer Mom Shoe WoesMy Profile

  • Reply Nina July 15, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    I love your title because I’ve always said I want my kids to be better than me in every way. Everything from how well they do in school to the opportunities I want them to seek to their characters.

    There really is no guarantee though; we can only do our best and let them know that we are there for them.

    p.s. Thanks for the link up Betty 🙂
    Nina recently posted..How to ask for a child-friendly, flexible work scheduleMy Profile

    • Betty
      Reply Betty July 16, 2013 at 11:10 am

      Nina, Funny, my parents used to say that to us all the time. I didn’t remember it til you wrote it here!
      Your post couldn’t have been more timing. Nice job and thank YOU! xoxo
      Betty recently posted..No More Soccer Mom Shoe WoesMy Profile

  • Reply Joan Penfold July 15, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts and this with us. I feel we have become somewhat of a family here. This has/is a very emotional trial and it is not over yet. As a Floridian, I am not sure what I think of our Judicial system. George Z., Casey A. and many more getting away with crimes. Yes we do all we can to teach our kids and I feel that I have raised healthy minded and open children that feel the way I do.
    I am only hope the future for them is better than the present is now.
    Joan Penfold recently posted..Lick Smacking Good Newman’s Own Organics Chocolate Cups Winner~WOOT WOOTMy Profile

  • Reply Isabel Garcia July 16, 2013 at 1:36 am

    I read one of the links on how 4th graders viewed the world, and it’s sad to read some of the children worrying about finances, gun control, school, and their parents. I read in a Wall Street Journal article, a while back, about today’s children experiencing more anxiety than ever before. The best parents can do is to provide their children with love, be active in their children’s lives, and be their guide for a bright future. Awesome post! 🙂

    • Betty
      Reply Betty July 16, 2013 at 11:13 am

      Thanks Isabel. I had that piece waiting for my weekend links (that didn’t really happen as they usually do on Mondays) but it ended up being timely for this piece, yes? These kids break my heart! Powerful stuff. xoxo
      Betty recently posted..No More Soccer Mom Shoe WoesMy Profile

  • Reply Bella Vida Letty July 16, 2013 at 9:24 am

    I think the best advice I can give you is to speak frankly to your children and have them discuss their feelings honestly with you.
    Bella Vida Letty recently posted..How to Use the Power of Imagination to Create Your Ideal LifeMy Profile

    • Betty
      Reply Betty July 16, 2013 at 11:14 am

      Thank you Letty. Yes, I will continue to talk to them (til I’m blue in the face)! Showing my emotions and my honesty is a good example for them. I don’t want to shield them from natural feelings of my own. Gracias! xoxo
      Betty recently posted..No More Soccer Mom Shoe WoesMy Profile

  • Reply Nancy July 16, 2013 at 11:17 am

    Great post Betty!!! And you are right there is so much worry in our lives, and we constantly beat our heads trying to figure out the best way to raise our children, and I will tell you this Betty there is no better way than the way of God. I tell you this because you are a believer and I know from experience that stress and worries can destroy someone’s live but God and the bible have all the answers you know I’m not much of a reader specially the bible it’s hard to understand, but I do my best to go to church take my kids with me and listen to the gospel with all my heart, Ill go to a bible study group to talk about what we read. I have learned to give all my worries to God, to trust in him that if we follow his teachings there is no way to mess up and that if we do there is always a day to start over, there is repentance and forgiveness. I trust that if I teach my children Gods commentments they will learn right from wrong and they will feel a sense of conviction therefore they will chose the right way. This is what I want to believe in and what I have faith in, it will happen. Raise your children loving God and they will be great, righteousness growned man.

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