‘Confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect’ oxforddictionaries.com
When I was putting this one together in my head, I most definitely had my eldest cub in mind. For some daft reason, societally we still undervalue women. Pretty daft really when you realise that we’d die out without them. But then I started to think about the minefield that is also being male, and the expectations associated therewith. Toxic masculinity is something I’m very much aware of but luckily being in my mid-forties and self-assured, I’m beyond all that chest puffing.
Living up to your own expectations is all that you need ever do.
I want my cubs to know to:
- Know your subject
- Listen and understand
- It’s ok to disagree
- Be careful with who you mingle.
Self-validation within the fun-filled minefield that is childhood isn’t easy. Kids are bombarded with competing influences of parents, teachers, siblings, media and, and, and… Within coparenting, the parent element takes on an added dimension. At least when you lived together you could pretend to put on a united front; in the coparenting dynamic it’s frustrating as hell to see your ex’s bad habits play out in real-time in your cubs. So ends the parable of St BSD.
Positive reinforcement of self-validation will lead to the cubs trusting their own feelings; this may well save them one day.
‘Knowledge is power’ is a great but incomplete statement. True power comes in applying that knowledge correctly, in both context and time.
Active listening! I’ve spoken about this before. I do hope you were listening. There is so much to be learned about a person, group or organisation if you just listen and digest what is being said, rather than sitting in a pregnant pause waiting to get your point across. The skill is to listen, to really listen, and judge for yourself whether words match actions; this will answer most questions.
Brexit; Trump; Marmite, the list is endless. We seem to have lost civility in recent years. A difference of opinion is seen as a flashpoint rather than a basic human right. Intolerance for the opinion of others has sent us spiralling. Having the knowledge of your subject should not preclude you from respecting the view of others; it’s the basis of healthy debate and can increase one’s own knowledge. Or let you know who to avoid in future.
‘Show me your companions and I’ll tell you who you are‘ was one of my mother’s favourite sayings. As a young teen, she would repeat this every time I went out. Birds of a feather would’ve been quicker but the subtlety would have been lost on me at that age.
Does your peer group uplift and empower you? do you chime with your organisation’s values or does cognitive dissonance have you thumbing the vacancies? This element is tied up with knowing who you are and recognising your value in relation to others.
Social adjusting is the on-going process that is reinforced through persistent behaviours. For the most part the subtle lessons are unnoticed: the feeling a child gets when the answer a question, whether the answer is right or wrong will dictate their readiness to do so again in the future. I encourage reading, museum visits, documentaries but I try to make them fun. I like to immerse them in whatever they’re doing as the fun factor tends to make lessons stick. We’ll take turns asking questions, so they can see daddy learning too, sometimes not getting it right but then fact-finding together.
With discovery comes the forming of opinions. Eldest cub is currently experiencing a stage of mother induced atheism (more likely she’s found her inner scientist) which is at odds with her Christian schooling. We have some lively chats, where I challenge her with both sides of the discussion. With youngest, we’re still on shapes and colours. I find responding to his questions less challenging..
Self-worth is deciding factor in peer groups. The friend that constantly says or does things to upset, may not actually be your friend; even if those things are not directed at you. Recognising misaligned values is a life saver.
If a child’s self-worth isn’t cultivated at home and in the formative years, they will seek those bonds elsewhere. Exploitation takes on many forms.
The goal of this one is relatively simple; to hold oneself in esteem will free you from the unscrupulous manipulation of others. The playground, your job, your personal relationships will all benefit if you remember what you’re worth.