Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Teaching Our Children

Last Thursday (and again today) while I was getting my hair cut and colored (those pesky grays just won’t go away!) I was talking to Brooke about how to teach our kids about appearance.  Our kids are the same ages.  Except she has double of both.  Two 10 year olds (I have one) and two soon to be 5 year olds. (I have one – soon to be 6 year old, she’s so lucky!)  Anyway, we were talking about how our older girls don’t care about how they look when they go to school.  Jeans and t-shirts are fine by them!  Hair combed and styled is optional.  Is it the age?  Could it be a faze?  Are they self conscious because their bodies are beginning to change?  We aren’t sure. 

I explained to Cassidy that even though it’s not fair, the world including teachers, peers and (ghast!) even boys! judge you and treat you how you present yourself.  This includes, cleanliness, clothing, hair, teeth etc.  It also includes attitude and a wining personality but I didn’t get into that. (wink)

Brooke gave a wonderful example:  If you were to go to a job interview and there was a girl there who was dressed nice, her hair was nicely combed and her teeth shiny and clean.  Then there was a girl who woke up ran a comb through her hair, threw on yesterdays wrinkled clothes and showed up without brushing her teeth, who do you think would get the job based on appearance?  The girl who takes pride in herself and the way she looks right? 

Tom and I have talked about this several times with Cassidy.  She loves to ask a lot of questions and have deep meaningful conversations.  I think pointing out little things and not pushing her is working.  We have let her make her own decisions on what to wear to school (except in the modesty department – that we chime in on) and how she wants her hair. 

And thankfully I think it’s working.  She will never by a “girly-girl” and I’m fine with that.  She does have her own unique style that I like.  However, she has been asking me to do different hairstyles on her hair in the morning.  She’s not fighting me on showering every night and…….she even wore the cutest black frilly skirt to school on Friday (with leggings and her vans), AND she requested me to curl-her-hair if you can believe it.  Yesterday she wore a headband and a necklace.  I’m not sure what happened but I’m happy to say that talking to your kiddos WORKS!!!  It works and we just need to remember that they learn from us.  By example and by teaching.  We are in charge of their future and it’s our job to make their future as bright as it can be!!! 

Here are a couple of quotes from people in our church that I loved on teaching our children.  The second one has a wonderful article you can read if you click on the highlighted area. 

* What a beautiful place this world will be when every father and mother sees the importance of teaching their children the principles that will help them be happy and successful. Parents teach best when they lead by good example; govern their little ones with patience, kindness, and love unfeigned; and have the same spirit of love for children that Jesus exemplified.”
Elder M. Russell Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, “Teach the Children,” Ensign, May 1991, 80.  (I found this after I wrote my post – good huh?)

*As parents, many of your teaching opportunities come in unplanned moments—in conversations, as you work with your children, and as family members face challenges together. These opportunities can be powerful teaching moments because they are closely tied to what your children are experiencing. Because such opportunities may come and go quickly, you need to recognize them and be prepared to teach principles that your children are ready to learn. (“7: Teaching Moments in Family Life,” Teaching, No Greater Call: A Resource Guide for Gospel Teaching, 140)

I’m open to any suggestions in teaching my kids if you have any, please leave a comment♥


onehm said...

WAHOO for talking to our kids AND having it make a difference!!

idahohubers said...

This kind of thing is starting to come up with us all the time now and I often am at a loss for good dialog. Benjamin loves to "style" his hair (his words) and some of his dos are pretty crazy! We explain it isn't respectful to go to church with crazy hair but he can do his hair however he wants at home. Jake tells him his hair styles have "too much wind resistance" if they are way spikey or tall in front! Today our lunchtime conversation was about kind manners and that people don't need to be told they have a big nose or are fat or have weird clothes etc. The kids are finally old enough to start pointing these things out and it is so funny because they just want to figure it all out you know. They spent about 5 minutes paying each other compliments - "Benjamin you look kind of cool in that shirt" was Aubrey's.

I have to say, cuz I just can't keep my mouth shut sometimes, the judging comparison to explain why we keep ourselves looking presentable hit a nerve. I really think it is good to help our kids make choices based on how it makes THEM feel not because anyone else may care - but because they CARE. I know you do this too, I'm just blabbing here...

Kids get a ton of judgement and external pressure from school, tv, friends, etc. We could say say 'keeping ourselves clean, wearing clothes that fit right, brushing our teeth all help us feel good about ourselves.It shows respect for ourself and others to be clean and presentable.' Or - the lady in the job interview was showing the boss that she cared about herself by looking nice and they knew she would care about her job too...

Then have them eat a bunch of Oreo's, put on mismatched too small/big clothes and ask them how they feel. They'd probably say "fine, no big deal Mom" Then take them to the grocery store AND make them talk to people! Ha, ha! I'm sure they would remember that! Just kidding.

Random thoughts from a mom who is nowhere near the experience of you ;) We'll see what I say 5 years from now. Those quotes are great and I bet there will be more gems to add after conference this weekend. Looking forward to it, not looking forward to occupying the kids during talks!

Anny said...

So true! I love the quotes also. You are a great mom and I loved the black frilly skirt, leggings with vans, sassy!