By: Jamare Harris
“You are your child(ren)’s first teacher.” I know that this is said a lot. This is said to first time parents, people who are thinking about becoming parents and people who are having a difficult time parenting… We say it all of the time. But, how many of us live it? Let’s be honest, how many of us actually live what we say or what we teach our child(ren)? Many of us might say that we try. I know that it can be difficult to actually have to take our own advice and be an example to someone 24/7 but this is the part of the job description that they leave out. You have little people looking at your every move, constantly. And one day, if it hasn’t started already, they will begin to critique you, call you out on your stuff and question whether or not they truly have to do what you say from watching what you do, or, don’t do.
I had to learn this lesson super early being a preschool teacher. There was no way that I was going to survive leading twenty, 4 year olds if I didn’t walk the walk. I am so grateful that I was afforded the opportunity to be an educator before a parent. I was afforded that opportunity and trust me, I still get it wrong! Thankfully, parenting is a lesson in itself. It’s about trial and error and a lot of sincere apologizing. It is communicating with your child(ren) being open, honest and vulnerable. Parenting is about working with and not against your child(ren) who are your partners in this journey.
Exhibiting all of those attributes in front of your child(ren) will show them how to be, how to navigate this world. You are not perfect. That is not the goal. They will also follow the not so desirable things that we do- so be mindful! You get out of parenting what you put in. Children do as you DO not as you SAY! You want your child(ren) to conduct themselves in a certain way? Be their example, be their teacher. Begin to show up in ways that you desire them to show up. The key is to lead by example. Be gentle with yourselves. Be gentle with your child(ren).
There is a lot of undoing that has to happen as we strive to be conscious parents. Be patient with the process. Hold space for mistakes. And forgive yourself for what you didn’t know when you didn’t know it.
Until next time. Stay positive parents!