words by nerissa

…observations, thoughts and questions

Archive for the tag “children”

What makes a champion?

When you think of the term ‘champion’, what or who do you think of?

Usually, it’s a word associated with a sportsperson. Usually that sportsperson has achieved something great. Usually the thing that they have achieved is winning an important game, tournament or match.

Most often, ‘champion’ refers to someone who has won something.

However, if you have kids, you’ve probably called them champions as well, even if they haven’t won or performed well in their chosen sport.

This week, both my kids played in basketball Grand Finals.

My son’s game had some significance attached to it because it was the very last game he would play for his school, as he is heading off to high school next year. You can imagine that all the boys were keen for a win — to go out on a high.

Alas, the game didn’t go to plan and they lost 12-31. Not exactly a close game. While there were no tears, there was a fair bit of disappointment from the boys. Like them, the opposition were keen for a win as it was their last time to play for their school. Put simply, the other team played better on the night and our boys finished runners-up for the season.

Understandably, my son was disappointed. And then my daughter presented him with this note:

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Dear Josh, Congratulations on 6 years of basketball at Yarra Road PS. You have played so well everey match. You have improved so much since you started in Grade 1. You always do your best and that’s what makes you a champion. Well done Joshie!! From Laura

After reading it, my son smiled and said “Thanks, Laura”.

Fast forward to later in the week and it was my daughter’s turn to play in her Grand Final. It was a close game (that involved many ‘dodgy’ calls against our team), but with two seconds to go the score was 6-6. Then the other team was awarded two ‘free throws’. The clock stopped and we held our breath. The first shot missed. Phew! Then, the second shot went in!

We couldn’t believe it. We lost the game by 1 point in the last 2 seconds! Once again, our team was disappointed. But being 9-year old girls, there were tears this time. Oh dear.

Following on from his sister’s lead earlier in the week, my son presented my daughter with a note of her own.

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Well done Laura on your basketball match tonight. I know you might be in pain and sadness, but you played really well. I hope you will be PREMIERS next season. From Josh.

She too smiled when she read it.

While it’s really nice to win, what makes you a champion is how you play the game. Do you give it your best? Are you committed to the team? Do you strive to improve each week? Are you gracious when you win? Can you bounce back when you don’t?

While my two kids didn’t ‘win’ their matches this week, they still earned the right to be called ‘champions’.

If you liked this blog post, you might like to read The rules of winning.

Write to the Point CommunicationsNerissa Bentley is a Melbourne-based freelance writer at Write to the Point Communications. This blog is just one of the things she writes in her spare time.

She also specialises in writing for the health and well-being market. As well as writing thoroughly researched articles, she can provide assistance with press releases, copywriting, editing, proofreading and communication strategies.

So if you would like her to help you, contact her at writetothepoint@hotmail.com

 

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How many jellybeans do you have?

words by nerissaHow do you spend your time?

How valuable is it to you?

That’s something I have been challenged by lately, especially in the last month before Christmas.

As we all enter the ‘silly season’, time seems like such a precious commodity. All of a sudden, our time seems to be eaten up by attending extra events — school Christmas concerts, sporting club breakups, work Christmas parties, etc. etc.

When you add to this the list of things you need to do to get ready for Christmas itself, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Your catch-cry becomes “I don’t have time”.

However, the beauty about time is that it doesn’t discriminate. Whether you are rich or poor, single or married, old or young, we all have 24 hours in the day. It’s what we do with our time that matters.

Recently, I saw this video. It really made me think about what I do with my time.

Take a look.

As the video says, we all are given a set amount of time. Some of us have more time than others, but we really don’t know just how much time we do have.

And yes, it’s true that we need to spend a great chunk of time doing certain things such as going to work, household chores, preparing and eating food, sleeping and travelling. After you take out all of those things, it really doesn’t look like we have that much time left.

But really, we do. I think the key is to find enjoyment in all the things we have to spend time doing. If you have to spend time preparing food, then prepare food that you enjoy, that will nourish your body and soul. When you eat that food, make it special — set the table or light some candles. If you have to travel in the car, then listen to the music you love, or take time at the traffic lights to look at your child’s beautiful face. If you have to go to work, then find something you love.

And while we can’t really control what happens during our sleep, we can make our bedtime rituals a relaxing and blissful experience. Maybe having a bath, reading a novel, or simply curling up in your favourite pyjamas with a cup of tea is what takes your fancy

Many of us, particularly at this time of the year, stress out about ticking the next thing off our list. But as the video above shows, none of us know how much time we have left.

When we rush around and forget to live, we are really rushing towards the end of our lives.

How valuable is your time? And what would you do, if you only had one jellybean left?

My greatest inspiration

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My two biggest inspirations.

Why do you do what you do?

Why do you work? Why do you exercise? Why do you run a taxi service to your kids in your spare time? Why do you go to church?

Why do you REALLY do these things?

Maybe you don’t know. Maybe you’ve never taken the time to think about it before. Maybe you think you know, but you really don’t. Maybe you don’t even care.

However, if you don’t know the real reason behind the choices you make every day, then what you are doing is not really a choice. It’s either a habit, something you feel you ‘have to’ or ‘should do’, or something you do because everyone else is doing it.

When you know your real reason — your ‘WHY’ for doing the things you do, then the actual performing of these tasks (no matter how unpleasant/boring/time-wasting they may be), has a little more meaning, and therefore a purpose. It becomes easier to ‘roll with life’, because you are no longer just going through the motions, wondering what it’s all for.

Instead, your life becomes more focused, more meaningful and a lot happier. Because all of a sudden, you’re not just ‘going to work to pay the bills’. Instead, you ‘re ‘working so you can take that overseas trip’, or you’re driving the kids around ‘so they have an opportunity to develop friendships’.

See the difference?

The same goes for taking care of your health. Many of us say we ‘need to lose weight’ or ‘want to get fit’. Why?

If you ‘need to lose weight’ because everyone else is on a diet, then that’s not a good reason. If you ‘want to get fit’ because Cross-fit is the new best thing, then that’s not a reason either. Even a doctor telling you that you need to do something about your health is not a reason, unless it is YOUR reason. You have to own your reason. You have to really understand WHY you do the things you do.

I have recently done this with regard to my health. What started out as ‘wanting to lose weight’ has evolved into something more meaningful. I no longer care about my ‘weight’, because I have learnt that weight is only a small measure of the kind of person I am. Sure, I want to be living in a body that can continue to move as I age. I want to feel healthy and vibrant and enjoy life as I get older. I do want to feel good and happy about who I am. And the vainer part of me wants to look good! But my real reason — my WHY for training and eating and changing my life for the better, is not about me anymore.

It’s about the dream I have for my kids.

I don’t want them to bury me before my time or to watch me die from a disease I can prevent. I don’t want them to spend their adulthood caring for me, because I haven’t taken good care of myself. I don’t want them to spend their time taking me to doctors, hospitals and medical appointments, or worrying about my health. I want to know my grandkids and have a quality relationship with them. I want to do things with my family, rather than just watch from the sidelines. I want our time together on this earth to be of the highest quality it can be, doing things that matter and things that make us happy. Making happy memories instead of sad ones.

I want my kids to be happy. I want them to know what makes them happy. I want them to be strong enough in themselves to be who THEY want to be, not what the world tells them they should be. I want them to follow their own dreams and passions, whatever they are, and regardless of what others may say about it.

I want my kids to love and value themselves, and to see value in everyone they meet. I want them to inspire and encourage others to be better people. I want them to bring joy to the lives of others, simply by being themselves. I want them to respect themselves and those around them.

I want them to develop a love for healthy food and exercise, so they can live healthy lives. I don’t want them fighting disease, illness or depression. Instead, I want them to make the most out of life.

don't tell people your dreamsI want my kids to be the best they can be and know it’s okay to aspire to greatness. I want them to be proud of who they are as people and what they contribute to the world. I want them to value their uniqueness and special gifts they have been blessed with, and to use those gifts to help others.

I want them to be resilient enough to rise above negativity and hate, and know that when they experience that, it is not a reflection of them, but rather the person who is being negative and hateful. I want them to be confident in who they are, and to never, ever let others’ negativity get the better of them, or cause them to think negatively of themselves.

I want them to seize opportunities when they come along, without worrying about whether they are ‘good enough’ to follow through. I want them to be confident in themselves and their abilities. I want them to trust themselves, and know that they will always find a solution to a problem.

I realise that is a pretty big dream I have for my kids. But I believe it is a worthy dream.

While it’s true that none of us can control how our kids’ lives turn out, we do have an opportunity to model to them what we value in life.

I’m not saying that I am all of the above — but I am working on being so.

The interesting thing about all of this is that since writing down WHY I am making positive changes in my life, I find myself reflecting on the above while I am doing other seemingly mundane and meaningless things such as cleaning the bathroom, doing the grocery shopping and taking out the rubbish.

Although I am not fully embracing the less appealing tasks involved in raising kids, every now and then I catch myself thinking “Why am I REALLY doing this?” And it causes me to turn my negative feelings about these jobs into more meaningful ones.

Why do you do what you do?

cropped-twitterpic.jpgNerissa Bentley is a Melbourne-based freelance writer at Write to the Point Communications. This blog is just one of the things she writes in her spare time.

She also specialises in writing for the health and well-being market. As well as writing thoroughly researched articles, she can provide assistance with press releases, copywriting, editing, proofreading and communication strategies.

So if you would like her to help you, contact her at writetothepoint@hotmail.com

Find your bliss

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My daughter made this for me last year.

As I sit here and write this, I am surrounded by a myriad of things.

There are reminders of my children — photos of them when they were younger, their first drawings, paintings they did for Mother’s Days past, handmade coasters and little notes they leave on my desk from time to time.

There are also books. Lots and lots of books on my desk. Some I have read, some are in the ‘to-read’ category. Some of them are related to my work, and some of them are for pleasure. Books give me a lot of pleasure.

I also have calendars, a diary, planners, paper, journals and lots of pens.  I love to plan and be organised. And being an old-fashioned girl, I like to do it the old-fashioned way — using pen and paper.

My favourite coffee cup sits on my desk, next to my hand cream, a candle and my ipod — things that I use on a daily basis.

Also sitting on my desk is my training program for the next 12 weeks, along with the goals I have set myself.

QUESTION: What do they all have in common?

ANSWER: They all make me happy.

One of my most favourite pictures of my kids, which sits on my desk.

One of my most favourite pictures of my kids, which sits on my desk.

Each day, we have choices to make. Very few of us are free to do whatever we like, whenever we like. We all have responsibilities and things we have to attend to on a daily basis — whether that means going to work to earn our living, raising a family, caring for loved ones, ferrying kids back and forth.

However, there is something that ALL of us can do to bring a little happiness to our days. Even if it is only having a coffee in your favourite cup, or listening to your ipod while you clean toothpaste off every surface in the children’s bathroom.

We all have different things that we love. Things we use, things we do, life choices we make that keep us happy.

We may not always understand why something makes someone else happy, but that’s okay.

For example, I don’t understand what part of bike riding is enjoyable. All I seem to get from it is a very sore backside. However, friends of mine are avid bike riders. They just about live in lycra. It’s their thing, their passion. One of my friends rides “Around the Bay in a Day” every year. That’s 250km in a day ‘for fun’. And he rides his bike from home to the start line, and then home from the finish line. So that’s more like 300km. I don’t get it. I admire him, but I don’t get it.

Just like some people don’t get why I love to lift weights. In some ways I don’t get it either. In my younger days I hated weight training. I would start a program but I would perform it half-heartedly, always having an ‘excuse’ not to do it. As I got older I knew I really should incorporate it into my exercise routine, if I wanted to stay healthy but I kept putting it off. When I was ready to tackle it, I told my trainer that I hated weights and that she would have to make it interesting if I was to stick at it.

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I had to include my son’s art work.

More than two years later, I now lift three times a week (soon to be four – WHOO HOO!) and I love it. In fact, I live for it. I love getting strong. I love feeling my muscles working. I love setting goals and working towards them. I love the place I have to go to in my mind before I lift something heavy. I love the feeling of accomplishment I get from lifting something that I thought was too heavy. And the masochist in me loves the sore muscles over the next two days.

(Some of you won’t get it. That’s okay.)

It’s part of my bliss. It’s also something new that I have found that I love.

But it’s not all of my bliss.

There are lots of other things that make me happy, some of which have made me happy for years.

Bliss for me is reading a book while enjoying a good red wine.

It’s a good coffee and some dark chocolate.

It’s planning and making lists and writing with pens and paper.

It’s a day on my own, just for me.

It’s a relaxing massage. Total bliss!

It’s cuddles in the bed with my kids.

It’s a great conversation with a good friend.

It’s sitting at my computer, free to write what I feel like.

My favourite beach.

My favourite beach – Caloundra.

It’s watching the ocean crash on the rocks.

It’s sitting in front of a campfire and laughing with friends.

It’s a warm bath at the end of a busy day.

It’s sitting on the couch, watching a great movie with my husband.

And it’s definitely all the reminders of the two little people in my life.

Bliss can be different things for different people. It’s not our job to judge whether the things that make others happy are good or bad, right or wrong. We just need to accept that sometimes other people do ‘crazy’ things because it makes them happy.

We all have a chance to have bliss in our days, even if it is only for 10 minutes.

The trick is working out what makes you happy, and working it into each day.

Where do you find your bliss?

follow your bliss2

cropped-twitterpic.jpgNerissa Bentley is a Melbourne-based freelance writer at Write to the Point Communications. This blog is just one of the things she writes in her spare time.

 She also specialises in writing for the health and well-being market. As well as writing thoroughly researched articles, she can provide assistance with press releases, copywriting, editing, proofreading and communication strategies.

So if you would like her to help you, contact her at writetothepoint@hotmail.com

Head in the sand? Absolutely!

I’m usually not one for avoiding the facts. Sometimes I might put off unpleasant tasks (just take a look at my ironing basket), but most of the time, my attitude is ‘if it needs to be done, just get on and do it’.

However, there is something I have been putting off, and putting off. I’ve been burying my head in the sand and living in denial. I’ve been pushing the thought of it out of my mind over and over again. For now, it is working. But I know that one day all too soon, I won’t be able to deny it anymore.

You see, my oldest is about to finish primary school.

What a difference 6 years makes

What a difference 6 years makes

I know that some of you reading this have been through this in the past couple of years — and you can empathise with me. Thank you.

I know that some of you have children who haven’t even started school yet, so cannot possibly comprehend them being old enough to head off to high school. But think for a moment of your little one starting primary school. It’s a little like that — only worse.

And then there are some of you who are wondering why is it such a big deal.

I too am wondering the same. After all, my son is ready to go off to high school. He is looking forward to new things, making new friends and beginning a new chapter in his life.

So if he is happy, why aren’t I?

Well, I am happy — sort of. I’m happy that he is ready to go, I’m happy that he wants to go. I’m happy that he has the confidence and sense of adventure that enables him to look forward to high school rather than be afraid of it. But that’s where it ends.

Truth be told, I’m not really ready for my boy to grow up.

I’ll be honest and say that I didn’t enjoy absolutely EVERY single primary school activity. I mean, standing out in the driving rain, watching district cross-country is not much fun. Nor is being squashed in a gym for over an hour in 40+ degree heat watching over 100 kids receive basketball medals.

But overall, primary school has been a wonderful experience for both of us.

Events and activities such as the Prep Alphabet Concert, the Grade 1 Fairy Tale Ball, right through to the annual Christmas Concert, provided us with many laughs and fond memories (despite the headaches involved in sorting out costumes!).

Then there was the seemingly endless array of sporting activities — School cross country, District cross country, School athletics, District athletics, District tennis, Inter-school sport, After-school basketball, swimming, skip-a-thons, fun runs, etc. At the time, it seemed a big chunk out of my week to attend all these things. But really, they have come and gone in a blink of an eye and the only reminder is a bunch of ribbons and medals, and some photographs that showed just how little my boy was when he started school.

If the first year of primary school is a series of ‘firsts’, then the last year is a series of ‘lasts’. The last cross country, the last athletics day, the last school production, the last season of basketball.

I’m trying very hard not to think about these events as ‘the last’. For the most part I am succeeding. However, I know that when the school production is done and the last goal has been scored in basketball, a part of me will wish we could do it over again. I am sure there will be a tear in my eye.

As I sit here and write this, we have just under 18 weeks of school left for the year.

head in the sand18 weeks to enjoy.

18 weeks to savour.

18 weeks to pull my head out of the sand … somehow.

In the meantime, perhaps I’ll go and tackle my ironing basket.

 

cropped-twitterpic.jpgNerissa Bentley is a Melbourne-based freelance writer at Write to the Point Communications. This blog is just one of the things she writes in her spare time.

 She also specialises in writing for the health and well-being market. As well as writing thoroughly researched articles, she can provide assistance with press releases, copywriting, editing, proofreading and communication strategies.

So if you would like her to help you, contact her at writetothepoint@hotmail.com

 

 

Things I learned at primary school

Prep - Grade 6. How much they change

Prep – Grade 6. How much they change

This year heralds the last year of primary school for my son. Despite my reluctance, I have been forced to acknowledge this in a recent trip down memory lane.

Like most schools, our Grade 6 students have a graduation event at the end of the year. Already a group of us are beginning to organise it. Part of that organisation involves putting together a memory book for the kids of their time at primary school. Our job as parents was to go through all of our photos and pick out some that may be suitable.

What I thought would be a relatively quick exercise, took nearly a whole day. There was lots of laughter, some moments of sadness and a realisation that my son has done a whole lot of growing since being at school. And while searching through my archives and CDs full of pictures, I realised that even though I haven’t been an enrolled student in primary school for quite a number of years, I have actually learned some new lessons during my ‘second time around’ at primary school.

So if you have recently begun the primary school journey, or will do so in the next couple of years, I hope that my lessons may help you make the most of this incredibly special time.

Get involved: It can seem like a thankless task to be involved at school. And sometimes it is. But it’s important to be involved. By being involved you show your children that their schooling is important. It shows them that you value the school. By being involved (whether it be on a committee, helping out with excursions, school discos, stalls or being a class rep), you are taking an active interest in your child’s educational experience. And it’s one that they will value and remember forever.

Encourage your kids to be involved: Encourage your kids to play for a school sporting team, or join the environmental group, or go to the school disco. When your child is involved, they develop friendships and a sense of belonging. They feel connected to the school and it becomes a happy and safe place to be.

Help out: Teachers always appreciate help when needed (particularly in the younger grades). While going up to listen to kids reading every week wasn’t always my first choice of activity, I am so glad I did it. Not only does it help your children feel like you are interested in what they do, it helps you get to the know the children in their grade. One of my friends and I have some fond (and funny) memories of helping out during Grade 1 reading or with the Christmas craft. So there will be something in it for you too.

Get to know the teachers: I am really surprised at the number of parents who don’t get to know their child’s teacher. You don’t have to be best friends, but you should take the time to introduce yourself, particularly at the beginning of the year. When you see them in the playground, stop and say hello. After all, these people are spending most of the day with your child, so why wouldn’t you want to get to know them? They’re not intimidating and some of them are actually very nice people!

Support the teachers: On the subject of teachers, you really should support them. If you want them to give the best of themselves to the education and care of your child, then show them you’re on their side. If they are doing a good job, tell them — and the principal. Positive feedback goes a very long way. If you have a problem with them or their methods, then speak to them privately, rather than holding court in the playground and whingeing about everything you don’t like. If you don’t support and respect the person teaching your child, chances are your child won’t either — and that is only going to hurt your child in the end.

Make an effort when it’s time to dress up: Looking back, there were many ‘dress-up’ days throughout my son’s primary school life — all of which hold fond memories. I remember searching high and low for a green and gold shirt so my son could dress up as an “Australian Athlete” for the Prep alphabet concert. Letting him wear his pyjamas to school for the annual Teddy Bear’s Picnic for the Prep and Grade 5 buddies. There were days of running around looking for supplies so I could make a “Jack in the Beanstalk” costume for the Grade 1 Fairy Tale Ball. Off to the shops again to find some red pants so he could dress up as “Mr Strong” for Grade 1 Book Week or a red sheet for “Captain Underpants” for Grade 5 Book Week. And of course the annual Footy Day! Some days it was exhausting and my creativity ran dry at times. But the look on his face as he proudly displayed his costume was priceless. And it makes for some great photos!

Take pictures — lots of pictures: Speaking of photos, take them. Lots of them. Don’t just leave it for the ‘first day of school’ or them displaying a ribbon after winning the 100m dash. Take photos of them participating in sports. (I have a very funny one of my son in Grade 1 diving over the high jump rope. Yes, diving with this arms together and his hands pointing forward). The more photos you take the more memories you have. Take photos of them with their friends. Getting on the bus to go to camp. Getting off the bus to come home from camp. Sports days, Christmas concert, School production. Take photos at any opportunity. You don’t realise how much they change and grow during these seven years at school. When their primary school years are over, these photos will be among the few memories you have left.

On the subject of photos, take comparative pictures. Amongst my favourites are the First day of Prep and First day of Grade 6  photos. This year, we took the time to recreate the photos that we took all those years ago when my son started school. Same poses, same positions in the yard. And it is such a great way to see how much they really grow and change.

Go to sports days: It’s not always the most exciting of days. Standing around in the hot sun, waiting for your child to run or jump. And yes, there were many a time when I would have rather have stayed home. But I am proud to say I have made the effort to go to every single one. Sports days, Cross Country, District sports, Hoop Time — all of it. The same goes for other special events. ‘Open Day’ at school where you have an opportunity to look through your child’s class. Information nights, the multitude of concerts and performances throughout their young years. They will love you for supporting them, and you will love it simply because you are watching them shine.

Which brings me to the next point –

Cheer them on!: Sure, you child may not be the fastest runner, or the best reader, or the most creative when it comes to art. They may not even be very attentive when they need to be. But you have an opportunity to build them up, or pull them down. Always praise them. Don’t lie about them being the best. Instead, a simple “I love the way you tried your best and never gave up” or “I’m so proud of you for being part of the team” or “Your reading is getting better and better”, really does go a long way. That said, if they do win a race, or an award, then be proud. Don’t play down their achievements because others may be jealous. Congratulating a person on achieving something is an important part of life, particularly for a child.

Enjoy the experience: I’m the first to admit that primary school is not all roses. There are so many issues to contend with — concentrating in class, making friendships, learning to be organised, getting homework done, etc. But the time really does fly. One day you’re sending them off to the big world of school, and the next you’re prepping them to say goodbye to that familiar place. Primary school is such a huge part of your child’s life and your own. It’s precious learning and growing time, and time when your child will begin to exhibit natural gifts and talents. Make sure you take the time to enjoy it, rather than rushing from one thing to another.

Show an interest: Show an interest in your child’s school life. Ask them about their day. Sit with them while they do homework. Read some of their books with them. When they think you value school, then they will too. Not only will you have a handle on where your child is at, you will also open up the doors to a whole lot of different conversations and opportunities for learning.

And finally…

Don’t cry when it’s over: I can’t guarantee that I will achieve this one. In fact, I know I won’t. My son’s primary school years have been so much fun. The school has been such a wonderful community and has provided so many opportunities for my son to grow and learn. He has achieved success in many things, and learned hard lessons in other areas. He has brought tears of laughter to my face with his various performances, both on the sporting ground and on the stage. Did I say it was fun?

What fun we had dressing up!

What fun we had dressing up!

I think it’s ok to be emotional about a phase of their life being over, but it’s not okay to let that overshadow their excitement and enthusiasm to enter the world of high school. We shouldn’t make them feel guilty for growing up or wanting to move to the next phase of life.

I know that it’s still early on in the year. We still have close to 10 months of primary school left. But if the rate at which time has already disappeared is anything to go by, the remaining year will be over in a blink of an eye. So with the lessons above in mind, my son and I are set to make Grade 6 the best and most fun year of primary school ever.

And the way it’s going so far, I’d say we are well on track.

Nerissa Bentley is a Melbourne-based freelance writer at Write to the Point Communications. This blog is just one of the things she writes in her spare time.

 She also specialises in writing for the health and well-being market. As well as writing thoroughly researched articles, she can provide assistance with press releases, copywriting, editing, proofreading and communication strategies.

 So if you would like her to help you, contact her at writetothepoint@hotmail.com

Why kids deserve respect

Respect is a tricky thing.respect

Yet it seems to be twisted into a definition that suits anyone.

We need to respect their decisions

We need to respect their beliefs

We need to respect their right to express themselves

We need to respect the way they live their life.

What does it really mean?

Respect can be defined as:

  • A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.

OR

  • Due regard for the feelings, wishes or rights of others.

While a lot of people talk about the need for respect, I don’t believe many people practice it anymore.

Instead there seems to be too much focus on ‘doing what makes you happy’, ‘living for the moment’ and forgetting about how that impacts on other people.

I’m not saying that you need to do what others want you to, or go and become a ‘people pleaser’.

What I am saying, is that we need to think about the impact our actions may have on other people — especially our kids.

Think about those ‘high profile celebrities’ who have been in the news lately, for their questionable actions. I am not going to name them, simply because I believe the reason they are engaging in their questionable behaviour is to gain publicity and get people talking about them.

However, if I used the words, ‘twerking’ and ‘joint-smoking’, I’m sure you know one of whom I am referring to.

Yet she is one of many. Listen to the lyrics of many popular songs, or watch the video that accompanies them, and there is often very little respect to be found.

Half-naked men and women, dancing around (often gyrating), singing about strip clubs, alcohol, and drugs. All the while objectifying women (and men), and passing it off as entertainment.

Think about some of our ‘sports stars’. Yes, they may be great at their sport, but are they really role models we want for our kids? Footy players getting drunk, or on charges of rape; a tennis star in trouble for hooning; a prominent golfer caught cheating on his wife a few years back. Yet these are the very people who are held up to be ‘heroes’.

TV shows are now being made from footage of drunken, foul-mouthed, disrespectful thugs having brushes with the law. While they may be televised after prime-time, they are still advertised when children watch TV. Do they really need to see that? Besides, are we really that desperate that we have to resort to that kind of stuff? Surely our combined level of intelligence isn’t that low.

What is going on?

Our kids are looking up to these people. What kind of qualities are these people exhibiting, that results in a feeling of deep admiration for them? Where is the regard for the rights and feelings of our children?

When we ‘normalise’ cheating, getting drunk or engaging in anti-social behaviour, our children learn to do the same. When film clips objectify women (and men) as objects, our kids learn to do the same.

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my son growing up to only see value in a woman for what she looks like and how sexually attractive she is.

I certainly don’t want my daughter growing up to believe that the only worth she has is to be found in men ogling her, or being sexually available.

When we show footage of people doing drugs and making it look cool, then our kids want to do the same thing and be ‘cool’ too. It’s quite confusing for them to be told about the dangers of drugs on one hand, but then be shown footage of a celebrity lighting up a joint.

Parenting is not easy. Forget about the sleepless nights and toilet training — that’s a piece of cake.

The harder stuff is trying to teach a child right from wrong and to guide their moral compass. We are trying to equip our kids to negotiate the minefield of drugs, alcohol, promiscuity, anti-social behaviour, cheating, lying, and selfish behaviour. Yet in one foul swoop, another person’s actions can call into question everything we have taught.

As children get older, the outside world has more influence on them. Yet people wonder ‘what is going on with kids these days?’ Well, kids model what they see, and ‘respectful’ is not how I would describe our current society.

Many forget that the children of today will grow up to be adults. What we teach them about the world, and their place in it, is a very big deal.

If our kids grow up believing that it’s ok to disrespect others, then they will grow up to be disrespectful.

If our children see their role models have no self-respect, then how will they grow up to respect themselves?

If our kids think it’s ok to yell, and scream and swear and carry on when things don’t go their way, then what kind of adults will they make?

If we show our kids that it’s cool to be on drugs and okay to get drunk, then what kind of society are we creating?

If today’s celebrities are all about self-promotion, self-gratification, making money at the expense of others and not interested in the welfare of the people who have made them celebrities, then what hope do our kids have?

So, to all of you out there who thinks that it’s none of my business how you live your life — think again.

Most of the time it is not. However, it is my business if the way you act and behave is disrespectful to my children. It is my business if your actions have a negative impact upon my children. And it is my business if what you are modelling is against what I am teaching my children.

It most certainly is my business, if I have to explain adult-concepts to my children, well before they need to know about them.

Remember, most children don’t ask to see scantily clad women gyrating about. They shouldn’t have to see sex-shops in every suburb advertising their sleazy wares. Most children don’t usually ask to see footage of people doing drugs. And they certainly don’t deserve to be told that their only value in life is to be an ‘object’ for someone else’s gain.

Children are vulnerable. Children are innocent. Children are impressionable. Children are special. Most importantly, they are the future of this country.

Let’s treat them with the respect they deserve.

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