I don’t usually like to label myself. I hate being hemmed in by a label. I like to think of myself as “generally” one way with splashes of the opposite thrown in for good measure. Kind of like the yin and yang symbol you know? I guess it’s the rebel within me that doesn’t like such definitiveness.
I am however, generally some ways as I suspect we all are. I’m generally an introvert who likes other people and a chat for instance.
And when I read this article on gentle parenting on The Conversation last week I nodded along with it. It’s generally the way I parent and I wish I’d known more about these ways when I first became a parent. I would have done things differently for sure.
I did though, make the mistake of commenting on the post linking to this article on Facebook thereby opening myself up to criticism and contempt from complete strangers as to my parenting philosophies. Fun times.
Yesterday I took my boys out for a school holiday treat and we stopped at a local cafe for a treat. As happens, a nearby toddler had a meltdown. Mr 2 put down his spoon, stood up and said, “I be right back ok?”, index finger akimbo.
Fascinated, Mr 6 and I sat back and watched him. He walked, with purpose, over to the little girl having her loud, vocal moment and said, “Excuse me, I show you my special dance now, it’s called the ‘chip dance’. You watch!” And he proceeded to do his very special, twirly, stompy dance, singing, “Do the chip dance! Do the chip dance! La la la la.” It’s a dance he usually reserves for his closest family. It, of course, changed the little girl’s mood instantly. That he recognised the stress in another child and did something within his power to “fix” the situation made me extremely proud.
Sometimes I wonder if I’m doing a good job of taking care of my family. I get stuck in the cycle of work, chores, school pick up and drop off. My head feels explosion worthy more than occasionally.
Empathy, kindness, curiosity and creativity are qualities I want my children to have in abundance. And in this one little scenario my baby bear showed me that, generally, we are on the right track.