In the first part of How we Educate the Child for life, we looked at two different ways we may choose to educate our children, the autocratic and the authoritative styles. Please if you missed this post, click here to read through before proceeding so that you can understand where I am coming from.
Though we spoke about the authoritative adult, it was very brief, right? I would llove to spend more time on this style of grooming the child, but may I crave your indulgence to tackle this a bit longer, as I believe that in order for us to get to a place where being an authoritative adult will make perfect sense, there are a few things we as adults must do to effectively adopt this method.
I will always draw from my Montessori background, no apologies here, because my ability to start unraveling this most of important subject matters, how to discipline the child, started with my Montessori training and my encounter with the following concepts: Discipline, Freedom within limits and the Development of the Will towards Obedience. In brief what I learnt from training to be a Montessori Teacher, showed that the success of the method was very dependent on the adult having a personal transformation. You must dig deep into yourself and make peace with yourself and your childhood. If you don’t you cannot be an effective or prepared adult in the classroom.
So we will transpose this important lesson and ask ourselves, as adults who either are parenting at home or educating children in the classroom, have we taken time out to make peace with ourselves? You may try to do all the textbook steps of how to be a great parent using the best known methods, but if we do not deal with ourselves to start with, the results may be very disappointing.
What do I really mean by dealing with ourselves? Have you noticed that when a child does something wrong, we usually get angry, and that anger can get blown out of proportion and escalate issues?
My son did something wrong a couple of weeks ago and I was telling him off, not shouting or abusing him, but whatever I thought I was doing it was heated enough in trying to help him see that he was wrong, that he turned round and said to me
‘Mummy, it’s not the end of the world you know!’
That made me pause for a moment. He was right. I needed to calm right down and see things in perspective. I am glad that we have the kind of relationship where he could say that to me without my loosing it. Give or take a few years ago, I would have lost it!
But I thank God for the growth in this area.
We must learn to regulate ourselves, regulate our emotions, regulate our reactions to what children do. We must not take ourselves too seriously.
Educating or parenting a child is not about what the child did, it is really and truly all about how we react to the different occurrences around us.
What is our usual response when they make a mistake?
There is this story of a father who was teaching his child how to mow the lawn, everything was going so well until he got distracted by his wife, Before he knew what was happening his child had mowed way more than he should have and spoiled the whole beauty of the lawn. Of course the dad was really angry amid the shouting etc, the wife came and tapped her husbands shoulder, and said to him,
‘Honey, do remember that we are trying to raise a child and not the flower bed!’
Sometimes we need to see the bigger picture. What is our aim, what are our goals for the child? We get angry at what a child did wrong, but is that the real issue? Why are we angry?
We are angry most of the time because we take their wrong doing personally, we think it is a bad reflection on us.
It is important to realize that it is not about us, it is about the child!
Being calm and peaceful teaches the child so much more about life when things go wrong, than the shouting, yelling and canning we usually engage in.
To educate a child for life is not an easy task, it takes planning, reflection, personal growth, working on oneself by preventing those old feelings of how you were brought up or not, cause new problems. If you learn to regulate your emotions, so will your children and wards, they learn from us all the time. We cannot expect these children to be emotionally intelligent if we are not. Getting angry, flying off the handle and using the cane is not the answer. Watch this video by Mr Praise Fowowe, it will help a lot.
More to come about How to Educate a Child for Life, watch out for Part 3.