Children Make a Difference
By Traci L. Carman
This month I decided to write to the children in the family. I sit down and talk to my children often. It dawned on me that it might be nice to sit down and talk with yours too (with your permission, of course).
When I was in my 30’s, I remember starting to get a glimpse of what my mom had done for me and our family when I was a child. In the moment, I had no idea. It took me 30 years to even get any sort of a clue.
With my kids, I love to give them insights into my world and how they can support me and bring a smile to my face. I like to give them insights into the future, and give them information about things they don’t know, but might wish they had known. I felt bad when I realized how much I didn’t know to appreciate my mom. I didn’t want my kids to look back and say, “If only I had known.”
Sometimes we think it is “obvious” how our kids can help us, or not fight, or just do their homework without arguing, etc. But, kids don’t know what they don’t know. They only know the now. And in any given moment, their now usually consists of a desire to play, which is natural. We can’t fault them for that. However, we can empower them, and give them a peak into our world, so that they can cultivate empathy, compassion, and gratitude at much deeper levels.
The rest of this article is for children who would like to make a difference at home.
Okay, kids, let me ask you three questions:
- Does your mom ever get upset with you, seemingly “out of nowhere”?
- Does your mom seem tired, stressed, frustrated, and/or not “interested” in you sometimes?
- Are the holidays stressful and not as fun as they used to be, or as fun as you think they could be?
If you answered YES to any of these questions, I have great news for you!
YOU can make a difference.
People only know what they know. That means they don’t know what they don’t know. Our life experience as children and as adults is limited to what we have experienced. You won’t understand what your mom is going through, as far as all of the hats that she wears (hats being various tasks and jobs that she has to do ~ dishes, laundry, work, etc.), until later in your life. At some point, the light bulb will come on and you’ll say, “Oh, now I get it. Wow, mom did a lot! I wish I had known then.”
My philosophy is, “Why not give our kids some insight into the future? Why not share with them what is happening in our life, and allow them the opportunity to have compassion, empathy, and to appreciate us NOW?” Would that be valuable to you?
As children, we go through life doing what we’re asked to do (or not), going where we need to go, and trying to have fun and play every possible moment in between. I love that! I wish more adults would do that too, including myself. Life is meant to be enjoyed.
Responsibilities take over, however, and we get into habits that create a life of work and heavy loads (some of which is necessary). You are shielded in many ways from that experience. Depending on your age, you may be starting to carry more of a load, or you may still be floating. In either case, wouldn’t it be really nice to know how to make a difference for mom?
First, know that your mom loves you more than you could ever know. When you have children, and only then, will you even have an idea of how much; really.
Second, know that what your mom is doing with work, cleaning, cooking, driving you here and there, and whatever else is on her plate, is what she feels is necessary in order to meet the needs of the family. It isn’t “instead of” being with you, it is “because” she wants to be with you.
Third, it comes out of love and necessity, but it is not always easy. Mom gets tired. Mom’s tank gets empty.
Here are some ideas that just might put a smile on your mom’s face:
- Hug her for no reason
- Say “I love you” just because
- Offer to wash the dishes, take out the trash, or help your younger siblings with homework
- Make her some tea
- Surprise her with dinner, or breakfast in bed (orange juice and toast is great)
- Clean a toilet
- Sit down to do your homework without being asked
- Make your bed or clean your room without being asked
- Do anything that surprises your mom!
Moms need love and attention too. They give a lot to many people.
Take this opportunity to love your mom. Ask her what makes her feel happy. Handmade cards and beautiful songs go a long way. What about picking flowers from the garden and putting them in a vase? So many possibilities.
I hope this helps you to make December a beautiful month for your mom, and for yourself. And, if it works well, why not take it into the New Year? :)
Traci Carman is an expert on parenting and pregnancy. To sign up for her free parenting newsletter, go to www.alovingway.com. You can contact Traci directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 800-647-1171.
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