Saturday, June 21, 2008

Good things about kids

I don't know about you, but lately I've heard some negativity around towards kids. Towards having children and being a parent. From parents about their own kids and own vocations.

I admit to being a bit guilty of this myself. Seeing my kids do some annoying thing or my young adults do some dumb thing , I blow off about it to another. Not good.

In the spirit of promoting a kid friendly culture, I'd like to share some positives about kids.

Promoting a kid friendly culture? Isn't our culture kid friendly?

Well, yes and no. Kids are often tolerated .

They are taken out, brushed off, shown off and tucked away. A bit like little Christopher Robbins robots , taken to kid events and then put away.

From the article linked above ~

A look at how parents are portrayed in the media gives us more clues about current societal attitudes. In sitcoms, parents are typically presented as buffoons, bumbling and fumbling their way through life. "In the late '90s, the mass media bombards us with negative stereotypes of moms and dads. It seems that every time we turn on TV, watch a movie, or read a magazine, we are confronted with yet another dismissive put-down of the parental role and function," say Sylvia Ann Hewlett and Cornell West in their recent book The War Against Parents.

But why do such negative feelings about parenting come out in public situations?
One answer may be that many of today's parents are unwilling to compromise their freedom and are, therefore, taking their children out more often and to more kinds of places. Moreover, people in general tend to spend more time in restaurants and other public spaces.

These recent trends create conflict. After arguing over a seat for my toddler with someone at a very noisy antique auction in upstate New York, an nearby older woman turned to me and said with vehemence, "I never took my children to auctions!"

Also children are very honest. Their emotions and frustrations are right there for all to see, which can be intimidating to adults, especially those who would prefer not to be in touch with their own, often difficult
emotions. "Kids have a way of putting us in touch with our own vulnerabilities," says Dr. Cancelmo .

They certainly do! I speak from experience, of having to confront my ideas and emotions and notions and beliefs upon dealing with and living with and enjoying children.

Why is it important to create a kid friendly society?

Kid friendly societies are family friendly societies.

And kids learn who-they-are by how-they-are-treated. Treat kids with respect and interest and they are more likely to exhibit this respect and interest themselves. They are more likely to grow up to become respectful adults..

It is necessary to go back to seeing the family as the sanctuary of life. The family is indeed sacred: it is the place in which life -- the gift of God -- can be properly welcomed and protected against the many attacks to which it is exposed and can develop in accordance with what constitutes authentic human growth. In the face of the so-called culture of death, the family is the heart of the culture of life.
Pope John Paul II, The Hundredth Year, (Centesimus Annus), 1991 [#39]

Back to sharing the positives of kids ~ here is my emerging, evolving, off the cuff list. I'll probably add to it later. And would like to see your litany of good things about kids, too.

Good Things About Kids

- kids keep me honest and humble – they make me keep things above board and ensure I don’t try to escape from unpleasantness

- kids make me smile – the things they say, the things they do

- getting involved in the lives and interests of my kids expands my own horizons and learning

- kids help me grow; they , inadvertently or not, push my buttons and make me question myself

- kids bring me closer to God, especially through the sacrament of Confession. I confess my failings, my impatience with my kids. How selfish would I be if I didn’t have my kids around?? And the kids keep me on my knees, keep me praying. They keep me at extra Masses, with special intentions...

- kids are fun – I say this while watching Anthony’s phone video of their plane flying adventures this afternoon

- kids give me some one extra to talk to – I am a social person and I love talking. We had a good discussion today on selfishness and on choices, me and some of the kids, based on a Battlestar Galactica episode. Hey, I'[m never lonely ( I'm never alone!).

- kids keep me current – yeah, I’m into some of the bands and clothes because of my kids


Cindy said...

Can't wait to re3ad this in detail, Leonie.. off to the y. But AT the Y I keep hearing moms lamenting that school is out and now they are stuck with their kids... :(

More later! cindy

Leonie said...

Yeah, I think we need to encourage each othern to see the positives in our kids...

molly said...

Wonderful timing, I cannot believe all these school moms complaining about the dc being home for the summer.......the fun has just begun for us!

Shannon said...

very encouraging Leonie - hi from WA. Been very quiet lately - a series of miscarriages, a new baby and (cancelled)trip to Africa...., but have popped in to read your always interesting blogs.

A note to add, having had some 'spare' time this weekend, went for a stroll and met a friend who doesn't home school, in the time I have known her she has gone back to study and graduated and now teaches in special ed (my former passion). I was tempted to question 'what am I achieving atm, especially in regards to being useful to the community.'

After some contemplation and prayer whilst finishing the walk, I was reassured that nurturing and being with the children/teens is my vocation (I know so simple) but in the context of your post - choosing to be with them is a witness to society that kids are worth my time and effort, and sometimes sacrifice. That spending time with them is a worthy pursuit.

I would hope that meeting nonhomeschoolers and sharing that although challenging, being at home with the children is a delight because we CAN spend time with the kids and nurture real relationships/friendships with them.

Looking forward to catching up with you all (esp Cindy.

God Bless

Leonie said...

Wow - cool to hear from you, Shannon! And congrats on the baby!!

HopewellMomSchool said...

As a single Mom by choice [adoption] I hear all the time "why did you [much worse words] screw up your life by getting kids?" I prefer to think of it as following by God's will and MY will! What would my life be without my kids?? Live for my job?? Ugh!

Us! said...

Wonderful Leonie.
Me too Molly! Lots of fun and downtime in the summer!