In busy Sydney recently, whilst standing at the traffic lights, I was struck by the number of people who ignore the “Don’t Walk” sign. They dart in amongst the traffic, in order to save about 20 secs off their walk, rather than wait for the “green man” to indicate that it’s their turn to cross.
I saw two important messages here for parents:
As an ex-Teacher and a parent, I can’t do this! I’m very conscious that my children (or yours, who might be standing next to me) are watching. At an early age they learn that ‘red’ = STOP, and I also know that they want to do what the adults do. So, if my Mum/Dad/Grandparents ignore ‘red’ signs, then I can too. So much of parenting is modelling – whether you mean to or not, children see and hear all that we do in their presence. Young children do not discriminate between the ‘good’ we do or the ‘less good’ we do – they don’t pass judgement, they just copy!
Why are we in soooo much of a hurry? If we need to ‘run’ and cut seconds off jobs, then perhaps we are doing too much! I know when I was a parent of young children, the chores just seemed endless – washing, nurturing, cleaning, kissing, shopping, watching and joining in play, cooking etc. We all know the reality of the job. What I learnt was that yes, I could do 60,000 jobs in a day (well, that’s what it felt like!) but I was a grumpy parent then – a bit short with the kids, with lots of ‘sighing’ in between! However, if I took 10 or 15 mins every hour or 2, to sit with a hot cup of tea in the garden, or to get on the floor and play lego, or to read to my littlies, then I was a much ‘nicer’ Mum, and consequently felt less stressed. Yes, I did still have all those jobs to do, but they seemed somewhat easier, as I was now smiling, instead of frowning.
So, possibly those ‘super busy people’ at the lights, need to sit and ‘chill’ for a moment, so that they don’t need to rush so much.
Yes, I know it sounds crazy to say to take time out for yourself, and you’ll have more time… but it works! I encourage you to give it a go!
Back to the lights…yes, in busy Sydney, in peak hour traffic, there aren’t many children around – but even just one set of little eyes watching are worth giving a positive message to – to cross safely, and to take care of yourself.
Parenting is an on-going teaching opportunity for you – to show your children how to do things.
Image by Dee Roppyakuju via Flickr