Recently I wrote about an inspiring group of women recent who are fighting for a better future for their children. You can read more about their story here. World Vision’s work in this area helped this group of women break out of the cycle of debt, leading to financial independence. Another way World Vision assists in this area is providing access to parenting seminars. The mothers I spoke to desperately wanted better outcomes for their children, not only in education and living conditions, but also for their wellbeing. Particularly, these mothers wanted to foster confidence in their children so they could pursue opportunities. I thought that interesting because its a common thing to express a goal for our kids to be happy. After pondering, I think confidence goes down deeper; happiness can be such a relative thing yet confidence is a game changer.
The longer I work with World Vision, the more I discover the depth of the programs that encompass the wellbeing of children. By investing in these women, giving them the tools to better their life situation in a sustainable way, the futures of the children are improved. And yet, there is more to it. Having financial independence is absolutely key, however without also fostering wellbeing for children emotionally, it’s only half the picture. Sustainable change comes in generations and that is why World Vision centres their 15 year programs around children. Even though in application, this often means investing in women and mothers because they have proven to be change makers in these situations. They have the motivation and the determination to foster change. Women are change makers. I love that. World Vision seeks to improve both the material and emotional wellbeing of these families, and I find this wholistic approach inspiring.
One lady shared tips from a parenting course she attended which inspired her as a mother. I’m always interested to hear from other mothers about how they invest in their children’s lives. I believe we can learn a lot from each other and below is a list of values these women are inspiring for their own families.
1. Eat Together
It’s important to take the time to eat together as a family whenever possible.
Talk. Talk to your children about how they are feeling, how their day went after school; ask who their friends are and how they are feeling.
3. Be Open
Focus on relationship so children feel free to discuss things that may worry them.
Teach children about “good touch” and “bad touch” so they know their safety rights.
Value education and pass it on. This is key for instilling hope for the future.
6. Kind Words
Speak kind words to children. I love this goal, because I find it easy to lose patience with my own children and having kindness as a grounding value is helpful.
Ensure safety to and from school.
Learn about good food to fuel bodies and raise awareness of pitfalls like drug addiction.
Spend quality time with your children.
I scrawled down notes while I listened, often nodding in affirmation. Then the tables turned. The ladies asked Deborah, Alison and I if we could share something about parenting and how we foster confidence in our children. Being put on the spot took me by surprise, and I wracked my brain to think of something to share that may be useful to this group of mothers who so inspired me.
I thought about one of the deep lessons I’ve learned that frames the way I parent my children. That is: respect with compassion. An example of respect with younger children is acknowledging their emotions. I remember when my son was just little, when he was upset I used to get down on his level and say, “Are you feeling sad?” before trying to work out what was wrong. By acknowledging and dealing with the emotion first, it both calmed him down and helped him to respect his person too.
Respect children with compassion and believe in the value of investing in your children’s lives in the every day small moments.
Be kind and love your children for who they are, not who we imagined they might be.
Education is important for building confidence and helping children understand all the wonderful options that can bring them.
So there you have it. A list of parenting goals from an empowered group of mothers in India and three spare-of-the moment thoughts from bloggers from three different cities. Deb finished the session off perfectly with a quote from Dr Seuss: A person’s a person no matter how small. I looked down beside me to see this sweet face. Yes, indeed.