Parenting, I have learned is an art. An art we as parents develop ourselves. I am sure you have heard the expression “no child comes with his/her own handbook. Each child must be approached lovingly and most differently. There is no right or wrong way to parent if you are doing it from a place of love, care and acceptance. This is why I asked Cathy Moryc Recine to share, monthly, her experiences as a mom. Cathy writes about parenting in such a way we can all relate. I want to express my deep gratitude and am happy to have Cathy Moryc Recine on Muse In The Valley’s team, along with Kelly Beav (heath and lifestyle). Their originality and perspective on life gives Muse In The Valley the eclecticness and diversity that is our mission.
Today’s post really accentuates this week’s discussion on Life Cycles (see yesterday’s post)
On to the article Lessons Learned:
We all spend so much time trying to teach our kids everything we can in order to prepare them for whatever life my bring their way. Everyday we remind them to be polite, be responsible and use their manners. We teach them to be kind, compassionate and loving. Each day, each moment, holds an opportunity to teach them something. Even though we may not realize it, we as adults, continue in the process of learning as well.
Some things are especially difficult to explain. Last week I had to try to explain death to my children because my father-in-law (their grandfather) passed away. They knew that he had been sick for a long time but that really didn’t prepare them. My 9 and 7-year-old understand death as the end of life, or no longer living but my 4-year-old didn’t comprehend what it really meant and my 2-year-old is just too little to understand any of it.
For my older kids there were logical questions but for my 4 year old it was difficult to understand this because of its permanence. There is no concept of time for him between things that are temporary and permanent. Everything in his world, to him, even though he doesn’t realize it, is temporary. He goes to sleep- he wakes up. He goes to school, he comes home. He has a time out and then its over and his day continues. To explain to a 4-year-old child that they would not see someone again is nearly impossible. There are still questions.
Even though I can understand the concept of death more clearly than my children (at least I think I do) I realized that this is still a learning process for me now at 38 years old. When I was very young and had to deal with the death of someone I loved I just felt pure sadness, mostly because they would be missed. When I was 21 and my father passed suddenly, I was still extremely sad but I thought more about the future. There are so many things that I would have to experience without him, getting married, my children and everything else in my life- the good and the bad. He wouldn’t be there.
This turned my world upside down. It completely changed the way I thought about everything and everyone. Our time is not guaranteed and even if you live to be 100, life is still short.
“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.”
― Dr. Seuss, Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
So I have thought about what I now know and what I would want to tell my kids if I knew that they could really understand.
I would tell them…
- Take chances. The bigger the risk, the better the reward.
- People come into your life for a reason. Pay attention.
- Say how you really feel right now. You might not have the opportunity to do it another time.
- Don’t waste your time being angry.
- Be with people who make you happy. Truly happy.
- Listen to your heart even when your brain and everyone else disagree.
Never give up. Ever.
I’m still learning. Everyday.
How to explain death to your children – Recommended books:
Cathy Moryc Recine writes a monthly Parenting column for Muse In The Valley. She lives in Manorville NY, with her husband and four children ages 9, 6, 4 and 2. She works as a mom, yet still finds time to enjoy the things that keep her unique. Her winning FB status of the month: ”My 4th grader is so excited that she is playing the flute this year at school. I told her to ask her music teacher if they will be learning anything by Jethro Tull.”