I heard a story where a detective spoke about a man who had some very valuable emeralds that had been stolen from him. The detective went on to talk about how, after some intense work, the gems were rescued; he said that he couldn’t wait to see these valuable emeralds that this man was so desperate to get back. The detective said that he was so disappointed when he looked at them because, to him, they were just different sizes and shapes of rocks. When the detective had the owner come to the police station to identify what was found, the man said, “Oh yes, these are my jewels. I would recognize them anywhere.” The man explained that these were emeralds in the rough now, but that once they were polished, everyone would appreciate their beauty and value.
I couldn’t stop thinking about what a great analogy this was. We know our children better than anyone else; we could recognize them anywhere and they are more valuable than anything else in the world to us. And we see their value while they are still “gems in the rough”.
All children have different temperaments and personalities. I believe that the right fit is an important concept for early childhood professionals to learn and use in daily interactions with children. Healthy social development occurs in young children when there is compatibility between the child and the expectations of the teacher. A teacher’s understanding and respect for a child’s personality are vital for them to develop and thrive.
However, we parents are the first and best teachers our kids will ever have. A healthy self-esteem is cultivated in children through acceptance, competence and belonging. When we show our kids that they are loved and accepted just the way they are, they will develop a healthier self-esteem and they will be much less likely to seek acceptance from a peer group.
I want to acknowledge and say you are #doingood to a very wise single father who told me “If you want to send a strong message to your child that he is accepted, listen and ask questions to show you care about their interests and concerns”. In short, develop a relationship with your kids. “Without a relationship, your rules, your words and your actions mean nothing. The wedge between you and your children will drive them toward acceptance and belonging in a group outside your home.”
At home is where our children will learn about morals and values. Understanding that there will be a diverse group of children at school we need to teach our kids that everybody is not the same, but everyone is worthy of mutual respect, love and appreciation. Be a family that teaches by example because kids learn from what is shown, not told. No matter what age, everyone wants to belong. Many people go to great lengths to ensure that they are connected with someone who cares. The way we give our kids a sense of belonging is by creating a community within our family and we do this by giving our children a vote in decisions listening to what they say and supporting them in their activities.
By creating a healthy self-esteem, a sense of belonging helps your child resist peer pressure and creates a set of expectations for your kids to attain.
May I suggest that it is never too early or too late to start praying for our children’s teachers that will be spending so many hours of each day with our kids.
Now it’s your turn! Tell us about a parent you know that is doing a better job than they may realize and let them know they are #doingood.