“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” – Anais Nin
Recently I went on vacation in Europe with my father and husband. I had the opportunity to be in Paris and Italy for over three weeks. I decided before I left I wanted this article to be about my trip and my experiences there.
There were many amazing sites, experiences, meals; however, I mostly enjoyed the people I had an opportunity to learn about. Over the span of this vacation I met people from many countries. In striking up a conversation, what became very apparent was as much as things may differ from country to country, there was a common thread throughout…Love. There was a commonality of love for family and love for their children.
We stayed not only in hotels but also in a few bed and breakfasts which afforded me an opportunity to strike up conversations with others over meals. We spoke about the favorite places in the area to visit, the best restaurants to eat, and what were must see in the area. Eventually the conversation would always lead to family and to their children.
I guess this is not that big of a surprise. When going on vacation, typically we go with family. A lot of stress and responsibility leaves us, so we can just take pleasure in our vacation. And, of course we are going to be feeling extra close with those we are vacationing.
What I enjoyed learning is the fondness, respect and love the parents shared about their children.
In looking back at my childhood and remembering how my parents would speak about us kids, there was always love. However, I think the conversations about children were different “back then.” It was an era of “Be seen but not heard.” We all heard, “Be quiet while the adults are speaking.” We all remember, “Do as I say, not as I do.”
And, if the parent said something positive about their children to another, it simply was not said in front of the child for fear of the child getting a swelled head.
That was how it was when I was growing up. This was not the experience I had with the various European families. When speaking about their children, it came from such a deep place of love and respect.
They asked their children what they thought and allowed the child to have an opinion different from their own. They had their child participate at whatever level the child was comfortable.
My generation has raised their children a little different, simply because there were more resources available besides the Dr. Spock method of “back then.” Today’s parents are even more educated and have access to additional information, workshops, books, and so on.
There was one conversation that stands out readily. We were having dinner with a family at one of the bed and breakfast, and the parents were speaking about how their twelve year old son was taking English as a second language. They had suggested to him to listen in on our conversation, and it may help with his studies.
Well, I know most American twelve years old, on holiday, the last thing they would want to do is sit around the dinner table and listen to the boring conversation of adults, let alone in another language!
Guess what? That is exactly what he did. Even though he was on holiday, he thought it would be a great opportunity to learn and ask questions of his new American friends. We talked, and he asked questions and received clarification when necessary from his parents in his native language on some of the things being discussed.
I was quiet impressed with this young man. The questions he asked were thought provoking and geared toward the global view. His parents were very attentive and involved both the children in our dinner conversation. The other child, a girl was much younger and didn’t have a whole lot of exposure to English, yet.
This is just one of many interactions I had with various parents from countries such as Germany, Switzerland, and Norway and of course France and Italy. What I take away from these experiences is that the days of “be seen and not heard” are extinct.
The parents of today, at least the ones I met in Europe, are much more aware of the gift their children have and treat them as a person with an opinion and thoughts about the world. They know they are growing into what it is they want to become. They do not come from a place of wait until you are older and then you can make these types of contributions with others.
We can change the way children and young adults see themselves by creating environments where they are asked for their opinions, thoughts, and solutions to some of the problems we are currently facing in our society.
What if we asked, “What do you want to be known for?” instead of “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Why not ask them, “How will your gifts and talents help to solve this problem” instead of saying, “It has always been a problem, and I don’t see it changing any time soon.”
When we allow our children to think and solve situations for themselves, we raise children who are confident, empowered, cooperative, compassionate, and celebrate each other’s uniqueness. We can stop bullying and other such hatred actions by parenting in this way.
I know this is not all inclusive, yet it is a good starting point. There will be children with less pent up anger, and when they are in touch with their own magnificence there will be no need to harm another.
Children are our future, and we do not need to wait for them to grow up to become the person they want to become. They are becoming that now!
With involved parents such as these, who promote interaction, sharing of ideas and opinions and empowering their young, it is the sign of the times these are the children of our future…let’s let them lead the way.
Dr. Wendy Kaveney is a Dale Carnegie Leadership graduate, Board member of Conscious Humanity and Managing Director of the Center of Love groups nationwide. Wendy provides expert, personalized service in her many executive roles. With high ethics, integrity, and dedication to excellence, she generously shares her wisdom and incorporates a mindful approach to business. Contact – Website – Facebook – Twitter – LinkedIn
© 2017 Dr. Wendy Kaveney. All rights reserved
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