Danielle, “Be a positive role model – if you want them to behave a certain way, you better be able to do it consistently too!” Tip #6
I can rarely pass up a chance to discuss positive role modelling, as mentioned by Danielle with Tip #6. Positive modelling has been my largest pillar of parenting, my most deeply held value, and likely my most successful technique.
To further expand on this topic, I can see the increased relevance when raising girls. As a Mom with grave insecurities and a tragically poor self-image, this tip would have had an intense level of complexity if parenting a daughter. When raising girls, hating yourself just cannot be an option, or at least expressing it cannot be an option!
Although I just had one boy, I did do my very best to role model positivity, security and confidence, while working to make gains in all areas. I was careful to not discuss my own insecurities, self-doubt, poor self-image, and overall generally grim perspective. To me, role modelling was my most significant responsibility as a Mom. I took it seriously!
I would never discuss my perceived deficiencies with Michael. I didn’t want to darken his world in any way! Why would I use up valuable air time, life moments, with my gripes? Why call attention to my dissatisfaction, fears, and angst? I refused to put my lens of myself, or of the world, over Michael’s eyes.
My insecurities pertained not only to my personal self-image, but largely toward my negative view of the world. I believed it to be a hurtful and a hateful place. In my childhood joy was forbidden, and in fact, it provoked anger. I modelled the opposite even though I was afraid, and it felt weird.
Now that Michael is an adult, I’ve had the opportunity to explain my ‘climb’ to him. I’ve confided it was a great challenge to teach him about a world of love and acceptance, while believing it to be one of constant ridicule, unrelenting critic, and malice intent. It required laser sharp focus to resist my bleak narrative!
Parenting in spite this perspective, may have been my greatest feat. There was frequent temptation to remind Michael of the foreboding journey ahead, to vent about the assholes in my life, and to belabor my discontent – as was modelled for me.
My parents cautioned daily, predicting betrayal from all, and undoubted failure from me. They ominously warned pain was lurking around every corner. They stated with certainty, I was going to fall into any troublesome situation presented.
I knew nothing of my personal power.
It was important to me Michael see the world as a positive place, full of opportunity and happiness. It was important to me he was strongly acquainted with his personal power. I modelled all positive, all the time. I “acted-as-if.”
I was painfully aware of how negative messages could defeat a spirit. I was not going to let that happen. Kids should only see the bright and colorful side of life for as long as possible. I’ve come to learn, it is a plausible and healthy perspective even for adults. Although darkness does appear, a light can be found and a positive perspective is available. It’s up to us to dig for that light.
In my life these days, the student has become the teacher! Michael has become my positive role model. He has absolutely no time for gossip, and depressive antidotes. Michael is happy in, and happy out.
Michael is not immune to negative feelings, and has not been protected from life’s hardships; however, he gives the ‘dark-side’ no time. He is progressive in all he thinks, all he does, and in all he says. He demonstrates the value of ‘clear-colored glasses’ with every interaction we have! He does not have the burden of ‘shit-colored glasses,’ nor will he have to contend with the issues found in ‘rose-colored glasses.’ He gets reality and knows his personal power is unstoppable!
Imposing my own sour views on Michael, may have kept in line with my thinking, and on my side of any argument; however, that would have been selfish and immature. It would have definitely resulted in great consequences. I didn’t want Michael to think like me, even if it meant he’d agree with me. I didn’t want his heart to be heavy.
I’ve found kids with poor role models to be greatly burdened. I’ve observed their sunken shoulders, downcast eyes, and have been told about their “belly full of anxiety.” Contentment and happiness seems to escape them. They too know nothing of their personal power.
As for me, to positively role model, it was necessary to do everything different. It worked. I “acted-as-if” but it resulted in the real deal. Today, Michael is a secure, confident, and a forward-focused positive thinker, who has found contentment and happiness. Keeping my shitty thinking to myself “paid off in spades!”
Thanks again Danielle! You’re so right in “you better be able to do it consistently too!”