What used to be a place of quaint oversharing, cat photos, and TMI (too much information) has now become a hotbed of heated opinions, rumors, and fake news. You get off your Facebook app, exhausted again by what you had just read, feeling as if you had just consumed a bag of Cheetos. You look at your child and wonder: what kind of world am I raising him in and what can I do.
The good news is while you can’t control what’s happening in the world around you, you can manage your and your child’s response. The bad news is that there will always be conflict, although we can always work towards that elusive dream of peace.
Here are five ways to raise your child in a world where we all just can’t seem to get along:
1. Ask yourself: How do you want your child to grow up? You want him to be God-fearing. Raise him with a good education. But what other values are important to you? Is it kindness, generosity, respect, politeness, thoughtfulness, or integrity? List them all down.
2. Model these values for your child. Show him how you want him to act, and be consistent. If you value integrity, don’t just be honest when you’re in front of your child. Be meticulous with your word at the office or even just in the action of paying your bills on time. If you value thoughtfulness, then don’t just notice the things that your child is doing wrong; make sure to recognize the hard work he did to accomplish a goal. If it’s kindness, talk to everyone kindly, not just the people who are nice to you, but especially those who are frustrating and annoying.
3. Answer your child honestly. If he has questions about controversial topics, give him an answer that’s true for you, using concepts that are appropriate for his age. Be open to hearing his opinions as well.
4. Expose your child to the world. In the routine of school-work-home, you may get stuck in a mindset that doesn’t allow you to see and explore other opinions. If you can manage it, travel so you can show your family that there are diverse ways of living and thinking and that they’re not wrong. If you can’t, even exposure to different professions and provinces will show them that it’s okay to be different and that your reality is not the only valid one.
5. Help your child understand... ...that while we can’t have peace, we can disagree respectfully, allowing the validity of a multitude of opinions. And isn’t that what living in a democracy is all about?
Aurora M. Suarez is a certified Courageous Living life coach who wants to help amazing women achievers craft a life they love. She supports women in living their dreams and doing work that matters, that’s aligned with their strengths, values, and intuition. Find out more about her at auroramsuarez.com. To receive a copy of Your Heart-Crafted Life, a workbook she created which includes insightful questions, inspiring quotes, soulful exercises and a beautiful meditation, subscribe to her e-newsletter at auroramsuarez.com/joyful-little-note.