According to the Collins Dictionary, an adult is a mature, fully developed person. An adult has reached an age when they are legally responsible for their actions. If you say that someone is adult about something, you think that they act in a mature, intelligent way, especially when faced with a difficult situation.
So if this was, in fact, true, wouldn't one be able to assume that every challenging situation or moment we faced would be handled in a reasonable, carefully considered and intelligent way?
I guess in an ideal world we would love that to be true but...we live in this world! :D
I once heard, if you're not growing you're dying. Basically, what that means is, if you are not always working on trying to become a better version of yourself each day, you are staying exactly where you are with no change. Life is supposed to be about growth. That is why we start out as babies, then go through childhood to become teenagers before moving into adulthood. Life is about change and growth. The lessons we learn will, if we let them, help us to change perspective, learn something new about ourselves or others, or change how we do things in life.
With that in mind, here are a few lessons about how to 'adult' better, that have come straight out of a year 5 classroom with a group of 24 ten-year-olds and one 45 year old! Life doesn't come with a manual so we have to learn as we go!
Share your lessons - especially with your kids!
I do this far more now than I have ever done in my teaching career. Years ago, I would share the occasional story or lesson. But in the last few years, since I have become more aware of how I am trying to become the person I want to be, lessons and learnings are everywhere and happen daily! Some lessons are more challenging than others. How much you share and what you choose to share with your kids depends on their age and the lesson itself. Now that I am working with 10 and 11-year-olds, I openly (and appropriately of course) share the lessons I learn when faced with challenges. It could be how I react to a situation or people. It could be a struggle with thoughts and emotions in particular situations or concerns about what other people think. It could be celebrating a lesson from pushing through fear and stepping out of my comfort zone!
Our kids, at home and at school, need to learn and understand that adults mess up! A lot! There is no rule book for life so sometimes you are fumbling your way through until you figure things out! So sharing your lessons and not just the celebrations will guarantee that our little humans learn that we are all human, we are all learning, we all have challenges and they are most definitely, not alone!
Own it when you mess it up
I mess up all the time! I am completely and utterly 100% human and my kids know it and to be honest...I love that they know it! I am very aware these days that I have 24 sets of eyes watching how I respond to different situations and challenges in the classroom. They watch and listen to how I respond to different behaviours, when things don't go the way I anticipate and when we are under the pump. Most of the time, I think I get it right! There are some days though, when I react instead of respond and I know I could have done it better. They are the days I make sure that I debrief or have a conversation about what I did and how to do it better next time. Ignoring the fact that I reacted to something inappropriately creates incongruency between what I am saying and doing and what I am asking the kids to do. If I expect my kids to own their behaviours and learn how to be better, then I need to do the same. I think sometimes, as adults, we forget who is watching us.
Happiness is generated within us. It does not come from getting everything we want. It simply comes from sharing what you have and who you are with the people who matter. That is real happiness. If we want our little humans to be happy, we need to teach them that happiness is not something we can give them. No-one can make you happy. People can make you smile and they can make you feel good. But happiness is an inside job. Especially for our little ones, happiness and learning to be happy is learning to let go of who we think we are supposed to be and what we think our life is supposed to look like.
Kids are pretty good at telling whether you are showing up as your authentic self. They might not be able to articulate it eloquently, but most are pretty good judges of character.
Set the standard
I know parenting, like life, does not come with a manual. I know though, that most parents want the best for their kids. They want them to be happy and successful in life. Equally important in life as these two things, is being compassionate, empathetic, kind, fair, resilient and persistent (to name a few others). As a society though, we are in no position to complain about our little humans not treating each other like this is we are not setting the standard. They learn by watching. So, blaming other people for a situation you want to be in control of aren't or gossiping in the car park about other mums, dads, teachers or other people's kids, or defending a situation without having all the information, writing an emotionally heightened email because you don't like what is happening at school or work, talking about other people, teachers, parents or kids in front of your own kids are all ways to lessen the impact of what you are trying to achieve with your own little humans. Be who you want your kids to be. Yes, sometimes it's challenging. Yes, sometimes you will feel angry or annoyed or frustrated. How you, as an adult, manage that will define who you are to your kids.
Your children will become WHO you are. Your responsibility is to become who you want THEM to be.
How you respond when things aren't going your way will be the example and set the standard for your little humans.
It's easy to tell kids how to behave but takes more effort to show them how to behave. Be conscious and mindful.
Take time to respond to different situations instead of automatically reacting.
Own your behaviour. Own it when you mess up. Don't practice the illusion of perfection. Be okay with getting it right all the time!
Remember the power of language. What you say truly matters. What you say becomes your children's inner voice. So remember to tell them they are loved, they are enough, they are worthy, they are perfectly imperfect, they are resilient, they get to choose how they feel, and that it's okay to mess up, own it and always try to be better!
Until next week...have a fabulously fun week of adulting!
Lots of love,
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