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My mom has about a million expressions that have haunted (I mean guided) me through life. (Drink) Now, watching her with my kids, I relive my childhood as these Nana-isms shape the future generation's life lessons. From this perspective, the lessons really work. I often hear the kids tossing around wise advice to each other like, "for every problem, there is a solution." So, as much as I rolled my eyes when these phrases were thrown at me as a kid, they do resonate. Today, Nana joins us once again to impart more words of wisdom. (Drink...and continue to do so as you read on)


During the Corona Virus

Pressure, fear, stress, worry, tension, anxiety. How many times have we heard these words expressed during this extraordinary time? They are all appropriate and understandable so their constant use isn’t surprising. Although they are negative and disturbing, they exist in today’s vocabulary for a purpose due to the current state of affairs. We all struggle with their implications …including our children. Whether we realize it or not, children hear and understand more than we think and imitate our moods. Usually when we’re happy, they’re happy. When we’re experiencing conflict, they pick up our vibes.

Even with the best of intentions, it’s difficult to keep our feelings in check. But it would be much better for both ourselves and our offspring if we could learn to deal with our emotions in a healthy and resourceful way. There are those who see the glass half full and others who see it half empty; those who will dig a hole and wallow in it; others will try their best to rise above the situation and look on the positive side. We all have choices. Such is life. Whether it’s the corona virus that ruffles our feathers and jeopardizes our future hopes and dreams, or any other roadblock, how we learn to deal with these setbacks is key to a healthy attitude towards life. To learn to develop such strengths at an early age is a huge asset to a child’s sound development and mental health.

There are a few expressions I try to remember to keep me grounded at times of sadness or stress…I think by now everyone is familiar with the common one… “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” But here’s a few others….

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened”

“Don’t look back. You’re not going that way”

“The secret to a happy life is the willingness to change from Plan A to Plan B”

“For every problem there is a solution”

“Don’t let today take up too much of tomorrow”

“Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end”

“Life is like photography. We use the negatives to develop”

We as parents have the opportunity to help promote positive attitudes in our children and teach them how to deal with unexpected pitfalls which life is sure to throw their way. Life is not always perfect. It is inevitable we will face disappointments, misfortunes, and letdowns. Our kids need to learn how to resolve conflicts, and how to navigate through adversity. If we establish this knowledge in children at an early age, they will be prepared for the future and understand that using the tools taught them will help get through troubled times.

So how do we as parents or guardians accomplish this? Kids take our lead. If we were to stay in bed all day and moan and kvetch they might well follow suit. If we were to try to start our day on a positive note simply smiling and going outdoors to smell the fresh air, they may learn by our example. They naturally model after us and learn what they live.

As loving and diligent parents we all long to protect our children from the bad and keep them innocent. We cringe when they suffer, become upset when they are wronged. But to cover-up or constantly problem solve for them does them a disservice. They need to learn that they have the power to resolve conflicts on their own. Our role as parents is to teach them how to deal with difficulties and challenges so that they’re able to develop into independent and responsibility individuals. When they forget their lunch boxes or lunch money our inclination would be to come to the rescue. However, to do so constantly would be wrong. They need to go hungry for a day and perhaps next time they will be accountable, take charge, and remember their lunch. Teaching them to learn from their mistakes is a vital lesson. It of course pains us to see our children in anguish and unhappy. However, suffering is part of life. Not everything comes easily. We all need to deal with the hurdles and difficulties that life throws our way. As the Rolling Stones often remind us, “You Can’t Always Get What You Want.” Try playing that tune for your kids occasionally and sing along… with meaning!

As we ourselves are learning to address the repercussions of the corona virus and adjust our attitude towards more positive thinking, it might be the perfect time to teach our children to accept disappointments, expect surprises, and prepare for what may come their way. Now, during this time of crisis, may offer the ideal opportunity to teach our children as well as ourselves how to cultivate an optimistic life philosophy.

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