Anike Afolabi: Parents, Don’t Be Grumpy Guides
Children are natural ‘drillers’- Daddy, what is that? Mommy, why can’t I go outside and play? Daddy, where is heaven? Mommy, why do I have to go to school?
And no matter how badly we sometimes want the questions to stop, it probably wouldn’t. They are born inquisitive!
Children ask questions because they don’t sincerely know. It’s you, who has been here for a while; they just got here. They’ve not been this way before. It’s an awesomely new experience for them.
Most things you consider the norm, are new to them. It’s not their intention to frustrate you or put you on the spot- they just don’t sincerely know. And it is our role as guardians to teach, instruct and help them know.
So, instead of getting frustrated or exasperated, be glad for the privilege to introduce a new soul to the beautiful journey called life. Be an enthusiastic guide. Make them excited about life.
Imagine arriving in a tourist site that was supposed to be your dream travel spot, and you had this grumpy guide, who just wasn’t interested in sharing information. He told you about the place in as few words as he could and gave monosyllabic responses to your questions. How excited are you going to be about that place? You will probably want to leave there as fast as you can. Your perception of that place will be negatively influenced by your experience with the guide.
Now, imagine if you had a very enthusiastic guide, who shared great stories and information about the place. He gladly answered your questions and made you feel great about the place. The location would probably make its way to your list of favourite places.
We are life guides to our children too. And, we can either be the grumpy or enthusiastic guide. We can complain, nag, ignore their questions, snap at them, and generally make them feel this is a horrible place to be. Or, we can enthusiastically introduce them to life, answer their questions, teach them truths, share our experiences and help them discover the beauty all around them.
Life is what we think it is. It basically takes the shape we ascribe to it. As a man thinks he is, so he is. As a man thinks life is, so life is. Our interaction with our children should help them realise that life is great, awesome and ‘for’ them. This is not to say that we should sugarcoat life, rather it is about giving our children a healthy perception about life. Optimism, enthusiasm, and confidence are values needed for success. We cannot afford to raise kids who will live without these great values.
Yes, we might not always have the time to answer all the questions asked, neither is it possible to stay upbeat every hour of every day, but we can still do our very best. We can let our children know when it is not a convenient time to answer their questions, and get back to them with answers at another time. We can apologise for times when we snap at them or treat them shabbily because we are in a foul mood. It’s sincerely not about perfection, but about commitment. Staying committed to the awesome task of nurturing in our children a healthy perception of life.
We can raise enthusiastic kids who see the good in life, and live to make the world a better place! We can be enthusiastic guides, who will stay committed to our role as guardians. Guardians who point out pitfalls and equip with principles needed for fulfilled living. We can stay happy about our role as parents. We can choose to always see the good in this awesome responsibility we have, no matter how many questions we might have to answer along the way.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Heidi Tuller