Monkey see, Monkey do, Monkey embarrass you in public by sharing that word they learned when you thought they were out of earshot.
They’re always watching. No pressure, right? The kids are always watching and god help you if you do something you don’t want them to pick up. Do as I say, not as I do. That way is where
madness hypocrisy lives, and hooooooboy do kids hate hypocrisy. They may not know exactly what it is or how to spell it, but they know it. And our G2e kids have no problem calling us out on it. No? Just me? Didn’t think so.
So if we want to raise them to be adults we can stand to be around, we have to be the adults we can stand to be around. Dammit, that’s hard. Don’t get me wrong, I have basic manners down solid. But I’m sure you grew up thinking, “when I’m a grownup I’ll do whatever I want!” Mm-hm. And then we had kids. And not just any kids, but “throw ’em into the deep end of the parenting pool, advanced parenting no prerequisite other than gestation” kids. The cherubs who will call us out on our BS at age 18 months, then smile toothlessly as they return to the chess game they are currently winning against us. We have to be the adultier adult and that gets exhausting. Or maybe I’m just having a crabby day because reasons.
We are constantly modeling life for our kids. I was going to say “adulthood” but that was depressing; adulthood isn’t all that great sometimes. I also rolled “how to be a human” around my brain and that was closer. “Life” is the best I got. How to live life, how to react when life gets far too life-y for its own good, how to suck every bit of life from life while still making sure there’s enough life to go around. Hm. Maybe I should have stuck with “how to be a human” but whatever, onward, it’s written now and there’s life out there to be lived. We’re modeling life: the good, the bad, and the WTF.
Something I try to impress upon parents when I give presentations about self-care is that our kids are watching. When they see us putting everyone and everything before our health and sanity, that becomes the norm in their eyes. I want my sons to have healthy boundaries, to be able to tell others that no is a complete sentence, and that it’s not a character flaw to not want to go out when you know that your soul is begging for a quiet night in. That naps aren’t always self-indulgent but the result of listening to your body’s needs. That knowing yourself intimately comes from gently telling others that you must put your oxygen mask on first. When our kids see us packing the calendar full of activities and events and go-go-go, that becomes the norm in their eyes. I want my sons to appreciate the restorative power of a quiet weekend, to have the time and energy to dive deep into passion projects, to have the mental breathing room for expansive thought, to know how to entertain themselves.
How do I feel about the book, “The Giving Tree?” JUST GUESS.
G2e individuals tend to have many and varied interests, and feel pulled between all of them. I know this because I live it. That’s why I chose harmony as my Word of the Year 2020. I want and need to blend all of my life’s lives together into a Symphony of Me. Cheesy? Absolutely. But it’s better than the word balance, which I haaaaate. By openly and honestly working on blending my life, my sons see that’s possible to live life in such a way. I’m modeling how to life while figuring out how to life. Or something like that.
My monkeys are teens now, so while the modeling is still present (and probably always will be), I’m more relaxed about it. They learned to swear from me (sigh) and that bothers me less than you think; it’s not the hill I’m willing to die on. But they are also learning that self-care is a requirement for life in the 21st century, and that’s a hill worth fighting for.
Especially if I get a nap.
February’s GHF Learners topic is Modeling Healthy Balance for our Gifted Kids.