Santa's Gifts of Tolerance & Respect
When I was a classroom teacher, I would overhear recess conversations debunking Santa-isms among my students. There were the students who were the sources of info, there were the hard-core believers who wouldn’t listen to such blasphemy, and those who were on the fence and looking for confirmation from a reliable source! Ridden with anxiety over the outcome of these conversations, I would redirect the children and ask them to save those discussions for their families at home. I didn’t want to touch those conversations with a 39 and a half foot pole!
Whether Santa visits your home or not, chances are your family has had a discussion about the Jolly Ol’ St. Nick. Is he real or not real? Are we lying or are we creating holiday magic? Why does he visit Tommy’s house and not our house? How should we handle it when our child starts to question the magic?
This can become a highly charged topic with adults feeling very defensive of their position towards the man in red. And, rightly so. The discussion may tap into one’s emotions, reflecting on their upbringing and their feelings towards holidays and traditions. It may tap into parental instincts to protect one’s child and their feelings. Emotionally charged topics have us feeling watchful, ready to protect and defend what’s important to us!
But when I think about this in a broader light, and pull back the lens, I’m able to reframe the situation. Can there be space for everyone to have their own beliefs? Does it have to be so binary? So right or wrong?
Can there be space for everyone to have their own beliefs?
What if, instead of shutting down the conversation with my students, I had made a safe space for them? A safe space for each student to hold and honor their own beliefs while simultaneously honoring another student's position? What if I had offered space for guided conversation that would incorporate the gifts of respect, tolerance, compassion and empathy? A space where everyone could feel heard, understood and accepted no matter what their beliefs were at the time.
Think about it, which snow globe would you rather live in?
Snow Globe ‘A’ → Joey believes in Santa and thinks anyone who thinks otherwise is wrong and worries for them. Tommy does not believe in Santa and feels anyone who thinks otherwise is wrong and naive.
Snow Globe ‘B’ → Joey believes in Santa and thinks it’s ok for others to feel how they’d like because all families are unique. Tommy does not believe in Santa and thinks it’s ok for others to feel how they’d like because all families are unique.
Grab a Cocoa & Ask Yourself...
Can you reflect on your own emotions for a moment? What feelings are bubbling up for you?
Tolerance. Respect. Compassion. Empathy.
If we are not teaching our children at a young age about tolerance and understanding, when will they begin to engage these virtues? These are concepts that have to be modeled and practiced to be absorbed and lived. If we can model and practice these values with our children, we will be setting the stage for a kinder, more compassionate future for all.
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Also, click here to learn how you can prepare your mindset, get a better perspective, and be ready to handle tense holiday situations with grace and clarity!
Prep Ya'Self Before You Wreck Ya'Self!
Do you love 'The Holidays' but dread the way these special days unfold for your kids? Are you apprehensive about the change in routine for the winter holiday season? If so, you are not alone, my friend! You are not alone! While the holidays can be a joyous time to spend with family and loved ones, the events may also involve some tense moments and conversations.
When my children were younger, my husband and I would have mixed feelings towards the big celebration days. While they were fun in many ways, all that ‘fun’ would throw our kiddos for a loop! After the anticipation of the special events and having all the said ‘fun’, we’d spend the next few days recouping from the ‘holiday crash.’
Each year, we’d cross our fingers hoping things would just work out and our kids would go with the flow. But that rarely happened. It was the same ol’ pressure cooker of events. The lack of routine, uncomfortable clothes, large groups, noisy atmosphere, different foods, late evenings — it was all too much for our kids. They’d have fun for a little while, and then the day would begin to unravel. They would begin to cry and tantrum, be difficult, consume too much sugar, become overstimulated and ultimately get in the car and cry the whole way home from being over tired and uncomfortable in their own skin. The next few days would be spent trying to get back on a schedule and sort out a dysregulated sensory system.
We felt so much pressure on us as parents — more than likely, all in our heads, but nonetheless, we felt the pressure! Trying to manage the tantrums, listening to everyone’s ‘best parenting tips’, getting upset with our kids’ behavior (and each other!) and wondering why we were failing, what were we doing wrong, and what was wrong with our kids?
Nothing. There was nothing wrong with our children. There was also nothing wrong with us as parents. We just needed to be more ‘strength-focused’ and aware of our abilities as a family. We needed to be clear on our values and priorities, and feel comfortable and confident with our own parenting decisions. We needed to take some time to prepare our mindset and have a better perspective for the day ahead.
The main idea surrounding the holiday season is CONNECTION! If you’re putting out fires all day, feeling stressed, overwhelmed and stretching yourself too thin, well then, you’re missing the point of the season.
Are you looking to prepare your mindset and have a better perspective on the day? Are you interested in handling tense situations with grace and clarity? I’ve created three self-reflection questions to help you prepare your family for a better experience.
How can you prepare yourself to feel comfortable and grounded in your decisions and your parenting this holiday season? Can you...
How can you shift your mindset and have a better perspective this holiday season? Can you…
How can you make the day easier for yourself and your child?
Allow these questions to guide you, and ultimately, trust your gut! You know what is best for your family and what you can manage. When you are true to yourself and your immediate family’s needs, the time you spend with loved ones can feel much more special and meaningful.
One more thing - if you're looking for ways to connect with your kids, download my free e-booklet here! You'll find 10 tips to help you connect with your children to help keep behavior from escalating. It could come in handy this holiday season!
Connection is at the Heart of Every Relationship
The turkey has been ordered, the soup has been planned, the shopping list has been prepped and the holiday cocktail has been chosen! Bring on Thanksgiving!
I usually focus on the word ‘gratitude’ during the Thanksgiving season, but this year I am feeling ‘connection’ as my word for the holiday.
At the heart of every relationship is connection. Connection is the energy that draws people together. It establishes a bond and trust, a foundation that relationships are built upon.
It’s important to remember that connecting happens in both good and difficult times. When a friend is going through a tough time, we connect and support them. But so often, when our kids are having a tough time, we disconnect and expect them to work out big feelings alone.
Why is connection different with our adult friends than it is with our children?
We all love those magical moments with our kids when we’re bonding and making lifelong memories! Holidays, family vacations, special events, cuddly time at home...all the warm and fuzzies, yes?
But, what about the not-so-warm and fuzzy moments of parenting? Getting everyone out the door for school, screen time battles, sibling shenanigans, transition time meltdowns, power struggles, enter your daily parenting struggle here _______ .
These moments can push us to our limits. We may find ourselves overwhelmed and frustrated rather than ready to dig deep and connect with our kids. Surprisingly, these are the moments when our children need us the most! Kids need the help of parents and caregivers to navigate their big feelings.
Research has shown when we connect with our children on an emotional level, we actually shape the structure and function of their brains.
When we connect with our children, it helps further brain development, models problem-solving strategies, establishes trust and so much more.
If you’re looking for support to connect with your kids — even during those difficult parenting moments — I have you covered! I have created a quick read e-booklet with 10 tips to help you connect with your child, even during those tough moments. You can download your e-booklet here.
Looking for a quick reference sheet to print out? Click here for the ‘refrigerator sheet.’
Where does connection come easily for you? Where do you feel you could focus some more attention?
Halloween Hocus Pocus! Tips for Sensitive Kids
Rebecca Murphy, Certified PCI® Parent Coach.