A few weeks ago, I had what felt like a mini revelation in the Home Depot parking lot. I went to get a Christmas tree. I was sitting in my car watching other cars rush around the parking lot in a holiday flurry; lots of tailgating and cutting off. I was thinking about Christmas (whilst eating the candy bar I had purchased along with the tree) and not feeling ready to face the rush myself. I was wondering…what is Christmas really supposed to be about? So I thought, well, we are celebrating the birth of a baby, a very special baby. The birth of a baby who would live to incarnate all that God stands for: love, respect, kindness, generosity, forgiveness, caring…
And just so you know, I’m a person who has no real definition of what God is except for a simple belief that there is a power greater than myself. I believe that someone named Jesus once lived and that he lived his life trying to be the best person he could. He embodied being of service to the world and being kind.
But, if you think about it, aren’t all babies born with this potential?
Each child is born with a blueprint of how their bodies will develop and inclinations toward certain character traits or aptitude, but our parenting presents us with endless moments to nurture their love and kindness and support their innate will to do good in this world. Our children look to us to model for them what it means to be a good person, to be respectful and caring of ourselves and of others, to work hard, be forgiving, and the list could go on.
As parents we can…
Be loving and kind when they makes mistakes.
Talk with them gently about how to make better decisions next time.
Apologize when we have made a mistake.
Set firm (yet reasonable) boundaries so they feel safe in this world.
Tell them we love them.
Hold their hands.
Let them get enough sleep (so they can operate at full brain capacity)…
There is so much we can do and all of us don’t need to do the same thing– there are many paths to raising healthy, happy humans. But one thing I think that we all can benefit from, especially during this busy holiday season, is to slow down a bit. Enjoy some peace with our kids. Look at their sweet little faces and give them some undivided attention.