We can thrive when we feel supported and connected. I have uploaded a video on my Simply Mpowering channel on youtube
Who is a leader? Anyone who leads by example. So as a parent you are not less of a leader than somebody who has thousands of people reporting to them. You have no idea how you might influence your child's or anyone else's life and who they might become. The same is the case with teachers for example. I do feel that the job and purpose of teachers will change. They no longer hold all the information. That is a click away - for everybody. However, I would not want my children taught by "robots".
Today I would like to focus a bit more on the topic of support: feeling supported, supporting our children, what do we need ourselves to feel supported etc.
I would like to invite you to first of all try out this exercise around support:
1) Put your pen into your hand, close it into a fist and turn it with your fingers facing upwards. Then open the fist. What happens? The pen is free and resting on your palm. It is supported.
2) Put your pen into your hand, close it into a fist and turn it with your fingers facing downwards. Then open the fist. What happens? The pen falls down.
In both cases we "let go". It is easy to spot the difference. Maybe you would like to reflect what kind of experiences in terms of support you have had in your life? How supported do you feel now? How do you support others?
I would like to also draw the attention towards "attempting to save and rescue somebody" is not the same as "supporting somebody". That's the beauty about coaching. We want our clients to get to the answers themselves by being curious and asking questions. We want to give them tools rather than feed them the words.
When I discuss behaviour with my children I am not interested in hearing "I will change my behaviour". For me it is more important that they ask themselves: where is this behaviour coming from? Why am I behaving like that? What is sitting deeper? The behaviour is merely the symptom.
It is clear that we all want to feel supported. It is even the same in management. If your employees feel supported they can thrive. If they feel they have no support behind them life and work becomes more difficult.
Recently I had a chat with a teacher. We discussed how we could best support my son's last year and a half in school. He had chosen higher level maths in grade 11 for the IB curriculum whereas he had done standard level maths before. This is an enormous jump especially having chosen IB. He realised that it was needed for the course he wants to study at university and decided to go for it.
After a really great chat with the teacher I received this comment from her: "It is clear you see your children as whole people and want to see them flourish in their own ways." I was deeply touched. I felt seen and I felt heard. Most of all I felt supported. "Whole" is such an important word. Often we just focus on one aspect or a few but all of us have different aspects. If we leave parts of ourselves out we might struggle a lot more - in life, in school and at work. Somehow we might also keep searching subconsciously for those parts that we are not expressing without even realising it.
As a mother I had a few thoughts about my son's choice: If it is initiated by the child then he will put in the work, which he is doing. The other thought was: "Isn't there an easier way to approach this?" On the one hand it was practicing letting go - it's his experience and on the other hand it was truly assessing: How can we support him best to reach his goal? Has he thought this through? What does the child experience as support and where might the child feel "you are not supporting me"? Some children need to work it out for themselves first or completely and some seek assistance from the start. Honouring everyone's uniqueness can really make a difference.
My children's father (we are divorced...) has a completely different world view and approach to life and learning. I am a perpetual learner, visionary and most of all approach things from a perspective of "wholeness". I believe in infinite possibilities and I know our children will be living life very differently compared to our generation. He is "old school". You study, you get a job and you progress in your career. You are going nowhere without a college degree. I know he tries to support our children in his own ways. Yet I feel that it hit a plateau. Why?
The world has changed and keeps changing. I feel that many people got so immersed in the "old school" that they have missed completely that a lot has changed. It is almost as they were too busy with work, netflix and instagram (= a lot of distraction), bigger, better etc. to notice how the world has changed.
How many people are truly understanding that we can't solve problems the way they have been created? Anyone can regurgitate words but how many are truly embodying it? Recently I saw a big Swiss bank looking for a "global head of well-being". The amount of burn outs companies have faced...
Another well-known insurance company keeps looking for "storytellers". If that is not a sign of the new world, then I don't know.
My children's school has focused this year on "mental health". Look at the majority of other schools and they have no concept whatsoever that many children have been majorly traumatised with the COVID lockdowns. How can those kids be innovative, explorative, compassionate and courageous when they spent two years living in fear? We have never had such full psychiatric wards with youth and children, not to mention suicides and suicide attempts amongst them.
I would simply like to draw your attention that even that is part of a new world. Healing is needed on a major scale. We owe it to our children to give them back the opportunity to be and feel "whole".
Now imagine you are a child "stuck" between two parents with two completely different world views. Maybe you have even had that experience. That can be exhausting and for a while it was for my children. Yet I also see the potential in it. My children have to find their own way and allow themselves to try out different things. They will find out for themselves when they hit the plateau and what is no longer working.
What I can do as a mother is offering different options, pointing out different possibilities and creating the support network that will assist them on their journey. It is their choice what they will take from the platter that I am offering. They might be intrigued by some and might have no resonance with others. Throughout that process they might start realising that there are other ways as well. Having a chat with certain teachers can be beneficial so we are all supporting our kids the best we can. It might have to be the parent who comes up with new ideas or suggestions but ultimately it is important to try out new and different approaches, bring in some sort of movement, when things seem stuck.
Maybe your child needs a therapist. Gone are the days when nobody wants to talk about that. On the one hand your children (teenagers!) can share what they don't want to talk about with you or other family members. On the other hand it takes a village to raise a child. Teenagers are going through a detachment process from their parents. That is normal. So having an extra adult who they can trust and talk to regularly can really support them throughout those turbulent years. Even better if the therapist can offer additional tools.
Of course that can also be a sports coach for example or similar. We don't have to do it all alone!
How do you go about finding a therapist? The best thing is to start searching the net and then offering your children different options. Or ask other parents, maybe you already have a support group, maybe your school's counsellor can recommend somebody. Trust me your kids will pick somebody they are in resonance with.
Another point: We have never allowed teachers to call any of our children "lazy". Maybe your children have been distracted, not motivated (why? - even lack of iron or Vitamin D can be the issue), bored or disruptive (again, why?) but being judgemental was an absolute no go. You are talking about your child. It deserves as much respect as you do or any other adult! Never allow teachers to judge your child! Instead enquire what is really going on and happening.
Sadly there are very boring and unmotivated teachers or who simply can't hold the space for the class. It is up to them to change their teaching habits. It is not up to our children to take on their work. Likewise there are some amazing and inspiring teachers out there who bring out the child's brilliance. We want teachers who ask: How can we support you to shine?
Please be aware: it is never about convincing! It is about "allowing" and offering different view points, resources and support. If you want your children to become aware and responsible adults and citizens of this world you have to teach them to make decisions. They also need to learn that each decision has consequences. There are a lot of people in our world who make decisions but refuse to deal with the consequences. They try to hand over the mess to somebody else to clean it up and blame the other party for it. This is not responsible behaviour.
The more we see ourselves in our "wholeness" the more we can see our children in their "wholeness". Truly see them, all parts of them, the happy and exciting ones as well as the challenged and sad ones. Their anger might flare up just like everybody else's.
As parents we lead by example. We can't expect our children to behave in ways that we don't live ourselves. Their thoughts will be: hypocrites.
What parts of yourself have you been hiding, not expressing or forgetting about? Where can you take a step toward feeling more "whole" and flourish?
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