Let’s Build Strong Children
by Dee Harris
No particular person nor occurrence made me a broken adult. No particular person nor occurrence made me an alcoholic. It is what it is and today I am okay with that; actually, today I thrive because of it! I am ever so grateful that just for today I do not HAVE TO drink. And I am blessed today to have a Higher Power of My Own Understanding in my life that helps me to make sense of my journey.
As I have more moments of clarity under my belt I realize that I must unlearn most of which I carried into adulthood. I can’t say that my life experiences made me a broken adult, but I can say that a great proportion of it was a lie and I know today it didn’t serve me.
Growing up watching Ozzie and Harriet and Father Knows Best on tv impressed upon me the perfect family. Reading Seventeen magazines as a teenager solidified the perfect body shape and attire. Opinions, media and newscasts pounded into me that more is better and we don’t have to do it morally nor truthfully in order to get it…get the best job, the bigger house, the nicer car, the latest fashions, the fanciest restaurants, the five-star hotels, the status, the bullshit.
Geez Louise. I fell for it…hook, line and sinker. And it wasn’t until I worked my 4th Step in Alcoholics Anonymous, “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves”, did I realize how fear-based I had lived and was living my life. Because I did not achieve all those “things”, I pretended I did so that you wouldn’t think any less of me. And that all stemmed from me “thinking less of me”.
How does that happen? A bit of bullying as a child for being an Asian-American in a mostly white school. A feeling of not fitting in with the popular cliques. An opinion of being “less than” because we didn’t have the two-story house nor the Mercedes. Shit. How does that happen?
All I know is that today. now that I am a grandma, I want to stress to my grand babies how awesome they are, how perfect they are, are special they are. And I got that as a child. And then I’ll tell them again and again and again until I impress it so into their beings that they’ll run away when they see Tutu coming.
But a crucial lesson to teach along with offering praise and affirmations is humility. Yes, we are ALL born with special gifts, whether or not you want to look at it that way, gifts that others wished they had. So when you start comparing yourself with others and wanting what they have, remember your gifts. And remember, too, that these gifts didn’t come from you but from something greater than you, a power greater than yourself, call it God, call it the Universe, call it fate. Just be thankful, but not grandiose, for your gifts. They can be taken from you in a heartbeat.
And let’s give our children some kind of stability at home…and that means as much 100% quality look-them-in-the-eye in-total-mindfulness attention. Attention…caring, loving, understanding, compassion. We owe them that! That’s how we build strong children!
And when we see children who are lacking that stability at home, let’s do our best to care for them as though they were our own, ever, ever so delicately. Because not all children have stability. Oftentimes their parents don’t have stability nor did their parents. They don’t know any other way. No judgment here. Just empathy and understanding.
So when the bully beats down on our children physically, mentally, verbally and emotionally, we have spent that quality time with our children looking them in the eye and ever so gently explaining how that bully’s life might be. Right? And we taught them to not lower themselves to the bully’s level, lest the bully wins. Right?
And then our kids can delicately offer understanding and compassion to that young bully who has not yet developed into some mass murderer. And that young bully will be flabbergasted that someone didn’t bully back, but offered love, attention, and caring. Hmmm… Could there be a happy ending? It’s worth a try, yeah? How much worse can our humanity get without some effort and hope? I’m game and I hope you’re in too!
I love feedback so if you have any comments, questions or concerns, please feel free to post. Thank you for being here. With much aloha, Dee Harris