Thursday, August 8, 2013

Our Surroundings: The Way We Speak

We are very mindful of the words that come out of our mouths around the kids.  Obviously we watch what we say in terms of curse words and negative-connotative adjectives.  But equally so (or maybe more so), we are mindful of the way we speak about things in front of them.  How we help shape the way they see things around them through a lens of kindness, gratitude, and patience.

The way we speak about our surroundings is a prime example of how we are mindful about our conversations with our kids.  Family and friends probably laugh a little to themselves when they hear us speaking in our 'pre-school cartoon' way when we talk to the kids - but its really an effective way to reach out to kids and help them understand, so we roll with.

Here are some examples of the way we speak to our kids about their surroundings with kindness, gratitude, and patience.

When we get stopped in traffic because of road construction:
3yr old:  Why did we stop?
Parent:  We have to stop because the men are working on the road to make it safe for us.
3yr old:  I want to go!
Parent:  I would like to go too, but these workers are working so hard!  We just need to wait our turn and then we will get to pass.  We are lucky that the men are working so hard to help keep us safe.

When we find anything that the kids want to take home (ie. bugs, pets at the pet store, toys, stuffed animals, etc)
3yr old:  Can I have/hold it?
Parent:  We can look at it for a minute, but then we'll have to let it get back to her/his family.
3yr old:  But I want it.
Parent:  I know you do, its very cute/interesting - but s/he needs to stay with/find his family.  Maybe we can tell her/him thank you for the visit.
3yr old:  Thank you!  I'll miss you!

When we notice anything that is interesting/beautiful/fun (sunset, moon, playground, statue, garden, animals, etc):
Parent:  Do you see that?!  It is so beautiful
3yr old:  Wow!  It is beautiful!
1yr old:  Woooooow!
-Conversation about how/why it happened/is there-
Parent:  How lucky we are to live in a place that has that?!

When it rains:
Parent:  Do you see those dark clouds?  Do you know what that means?
3yr old:  It's going to rain today!
Parent:  Yep!  And that means all of our trees and flowers and our garden is going to get a nice big drink!
3yr old:  They are going to be so happy!
Parent:  They are!  I think they are pretty thirsty, so this rain is great!  We can play inside so that the trees and grass can get their drink today, huh?

When its not the season that they want right now:
3yr old:  I want to go sled-riding/swimming/trick-or-treating
Parent:  Aw man!  That sounds like fun, but it's not winter/summer/fall right now.
3yr old:  But I want it to be winter/summer/fall today!
Parent:  It will be time for that soon, but right now we are having this season.  There are fun things we do in this season too - let's talk about that, like what about ____?

After we stop to visit with someone we know out and about:
3yr old:  Who was that?
Parent:  That was our friends/family/neighbor.  That was very nice to see them and say hello, wasn't it?  We have great family/friends/neighbors!

Our surroundings and our world have become such a more magical place when we make an attempt to view it through kindness, gratitude, and patience for our kids' sake.  I have been so happy and proud to hear our 3year old say things like, "It was very nice to see our neighbor today.  He was working so hard outside!"  or "Look at that beautiful moon, I'm happy the moon came to see us tonight!"

It takes small effort to consciously speak with kindness about your surroundings - maybe a little more when you're surroundings are slowing you down - but the payoff is great for the way that you can help your kids (and those around you) see the world as a kind and beautiful place.