The Importance of Self...
Parenting is a curious journey. It highlights for us our faults, our weaknesses, our areas of ignorance and (thankfully) our greatest gifts and strengths. Presently I am trying to teach my oldest (an all too enlightened five year old) that she and she alone is in control of her emotions.
Joy and happiness are all at her disposal. It is not what happens to us, but how we respond to those occurrences that determines our mood. Happiness is not some great mystery. It is the result of consistently choosing to laugh at what could otherwise anger us or disappoint us. This, perhaps, will be my most important life lesson to her. This, and the knowledge that she and she alone determines her worth, her path to success and her definition of a great life.
I might possess a "black thumb" in terms of gardening, I might be a bit too uptight to really help her experience the joys of finger painting. I might be a bit overbearing in the nutrition and health department. But for all my faults, I assure you I am on a quest to fill this precious little person with confidence in herself and the knowledge the emotions are meant to be controlled - not controlling. She needs to know that the only limits on her life are those she imposes upon herself. Life is limitless and so are her choices. She should, therefore, make smart use of those small daily decisions that will ultimately shape her destiny. Choose to be happy. Choose to be a person of optimism. Choose to celebrate life.
When life gives you lemons, jump on the bed until you can't suppress your giggling. Or do cartwheels. Or handstands. Or turn up the music and do a silly dance. Being silly is a great shortcut for getting your emotions back in check. Motion equals emotion. So do things that with your body that express joy and your mind will always follow. It always works for mommy. But most importantly, I want to her to know that this is her life and she is in charge of how she feels and what she chooses to focus upon each moment. To me, this set of life skills might just be the principles she cherishes most.