Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Caught not Taught

Let's take a fresh look at what "guiding" is all about. It is too easy to believe that we have power, that we can control the direction of children's lives. At the same time, when things go wrong, we too often allow ourselves to take all the blame, "If we had only done....."

Yes, we have influence, but children come with their own inner compass based on their abilities, their temperaments, their environment. We can provide stability, emotional and physical support, appropriate information, a rich, variety of experiences. But like creating a delicious vegetable soup, the final outcome is part magic, and out of our control.

We also get into trouble if we are guiding them and not taking our own advice. We "know" what's best for this child or that person, but how often do we take the time to live this way ourselves. We want children to be healthy, and eat well, but we often grab whatever is available when we are on the run. We want children to be fit, but we are not positive role models when we drive instead of walking a few blocks to the nearby store or library. We want them to take their time with their homework and check their answers, but we experience the panic when we rush through a project, or find ourselves being chronically late.

Much of who we are today was not "taught" to us. We learned through trial and error. And if we were lucky, we may have learned some through good examples.

What might help us to slow down? How might we take better care of ourselves? What is a reasonable amount of tasks to accomplish in a day? What do we need to live in balance emotionally, physically, and spiritually? The best guidance we can give is demonstrated by right living.

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