Friday, March 19, 2010

The "Wonder (what the hell was I thinking) Years"

My teenage years were somewhat turmultuous. Then again, whose weren't!

My parents had raised me to be considerate of others, treat them the way I want them to treat me, be accountable for my actions, always use manners and to not allow those who taunted me to know they had succeeded.

Great advice, wasn't it? I love my parents. I know they did the best job they possibly could, so please know that I respect the job they did. After all, they gave me the confidence, trust and encouragement to be my own person, and for that, they have been VERY successful!

Applying these principles has caused me considerable pain and confusion over the years. (I will interject in my own thought processes here to let you know that I am somewhat of an 'extreme' personality. I don't do things by halves and this is more than likely the reason I have got myself into certain predicaments in my life! I am a more balanced adult now, but it has taken some BIG butt kicks to get here.)

So let's start with the first point...
  • Be considerate of others.
I think my understanding of this as a teen was to bow down to every whim of every other person on the face of the planet! Or maybe it was to imagine every possible scenario that may arise from each simple action/comment I make!

Little did I realise, this was probably more a reference to the K.I.S.S. method. So, as long as it isn't done/said with the intention of malice, cause of physical harm to myself or others, it's all good! I, however, took this more to mean that before I open my mouth I must consider every possible reaction to what I'm about to say & pre-empt how to offset this. I'm surprised I'm still sane! Do you know how time consuming and confusing it is to worry yourself about every possible reaction a person could have to one simple comment? And then, try dealing with the one response you weren't prepared for!

  • Treat people the way I want them to treat me - yeah, well, interesting.

Tissues were my best friend for many years. Even to this day, I always have at least 3 boxes of tissues in my house at any one time.

Know this, I still beleive in this philosophy, I just have a very different understanding of what this truly means. The most difficult aspect of this philosophy is grasping the concept that this will not automatically mean that others will treat you 'right'. I experienced alot of disappointment in this area of my life. Even the people who really didn't deserve my attention, I would continue to treat with respect and consideration. Obviously, I was hoping this would show them a concept they may never have considered before. Now I can see that they more than likely would have been exposed to the concept of treating people well, but they chose that it was not for them!

  • Be accountable for my actions.
Why is it that a teenager's brain cannot comprehend the meaning of this simple statement? Sadly, I see alot of Gen Y missing out this vital step on the path to maturity. I also can't help to think their parents have a huge responsibility in trying to make up for their own childhood by trying to empower their young. Unfortunately, the "accountability" factor has been omitted. I think it's fantastic to empower children, nurture individual thinking and a go-getter attitude. But this needs to have a balanced approach, and that's where accountability comes in. My Dad gave me the best lecture on this one (because it was very brief!) - "You can have as much fun as you can be responsible for." To this day, everytime I drive into the city and see the road signs reminding drivers about the consequences of speeding, I have a giggle to myself and think of Dad's advice. Trust me, this is a discussion my kids are VERY familiar with.
  • Always use manners

I think this goes without saying. In my 9 years experience in the Early Childhood industry, I was always conscious of role modelling manners. My area of expertise was children 15 months to 2 1/2 years. Obviously I had to tailor this to be age appropriate, but my group always finished the year with beautiful manners. Something as simple as "ta" is teaching a young child the importance of manners.

Think about the last time someone in your work place or family thanked you for something. Makes you feel valued doesn't it? It amazes me how simple words such as these can make such a huge difference in ones life. Do you thank someone when they do something for you?

  • Never allow those who taunted me to know they had succeeded

This one I think I will leave until next time!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Living in a Fish Bowl

Where have our dreams gone? Media have a lot to answer for and we can't seem to help fall victim to their web. Like going to a doctor, we rely on media to tell us the reality of what's happening. Sadly, the propagander got the better of them all, because Bad News sells!

Everyday, we are surrounded by Bad news. I'm not talking about disasters around the world, I'm talking about the kind of information that lacks substance and is detrimental to our minds. But seriously, ask yourself this: Am I part of the problem or part of the solution?

As a general population, we have very low self esteem, self worth, self concept and pretty much any other 'self' you can think of! Buying into the propagander makes you part of the problem.

We need to reclaim our thinking and make our own choices. Would you consider your best friend to be making good choices if they took advice from a magazine article, telling them how unsatisfied their man is in the bedroom, and that these are the 'best' positions to make her a better lover? Or would you think more of her if she laughed it off, remarking how sad it is that people take advice on important personal issues from a columnist who is only interested in generating circulation of their article? Doesn't it make more sense to make your own decisions on what works and what doesn't and seek advice from a trained professional who knows what they're talking about!

Children are becoming more aware of this type of loose 'Advice' and are trusting less in their own abilities to think, decide and act. We live in a fast pace world and make decisions without much thought. Encourage your children to slow down, take a breath, then weigh up their options. They will soon see, very few decisions need to be made in under 10 minutes and that's all it takes to stop and think.

With five children, I do all I can to encourage their dreams of being a Rockstar and enjoying their fantasies whilst they are children. I know it won't be long before the media will get hold of their impressionable minds and they will start to question their hopes and dreams and start thinking they need to conform.

By reducing exposure to the 'Bad' News, I can only hope that I have given them the courage and strength within themselves to know - "It's ok to think for myself and trust in my intuititions. It's ok if I'm different, being an individual is a GOOD thing!"

Monday, March 1, 2010

In the beginning...

Let me take you on a journey you may relate to. A journey to find the freedom we all desire. We all have a lifestyle we desire, the only difference is in the packaging.

Did you ever have a dream of being a Rockstar? Jumping around your bedroom in your P.J.'s singing into your hairbrush with every breath you could muster. You were the star. The one they all came to hear sing. Teddy bears from all over, came to watch your crazy stage antics, your energy, your passion.
Mid performance, right as you are working up to your biggest moment in the whole show, it happens... BANG! BANG! BANG! "Will you keep it down in there!" comes your mother's voice. Or worse still, she quietly sneaks the door open to watch how 'cute' you are. You haven't heard anything over your tone-deaf performance, and just as you hit that really high note and you're in the climax of your air guitar solo, you spin around to see her staring and laughing at you! You are dying of embarrasment inside, but determined to share the humour of it all. You both start to laugh. She leaves the room and you lock the door this time, never to experience that level of embarassment again!
As children, we allow ourselves to marinate in our dreams. We use all our senses when we create our fantasies. We can hear, see, smell, feel and taste the atmosphere as if we are really there. No matter what we are told by 'crusty old adults', we make our dreams a reality.
So, as we age, what is it that happens to us to make us stop believing that we are in control of our own dreams?