This is Part Four of a four-part series on Living Authentically By Kathleen McIntire and Erin Cote
A lot of mothers will do anything for their children, except let them be themselves. Banksy
• Be as honest with your kids as you possibly can be without upsetting them with information too advanced for their ages. They can handle the truth when it’s expressed lovingly and in an age-appropriate way. Yes, Dad lost his job (but we won’t end up homeless). Yes, the shot will hurt a little (but only for a minute and it will be over).
• Are you perpetuating the myth of parental perfection? When you screw up, admit that you screwed up. Kids will respect and respond to your honesty.
• Pay attention to your child when he talks. Really listen. Tuning him out or humoring/half-listening sends the message that what he has to say is not important. Believe me, that’s a message he will hear loud and clear.
• Every day, make a sincere effort to truly engage your child. Turn off the TV, walk away from the computer, set aside the bills—and talk. When you don’t make it a priority, days and weeks can go by without a genuine connection…and you wake up one morning to realize you don’t know your own child.
• Parent from the heart. If it doesn’t feel good to you, it doesn’t matter if it’s what the “experts” swear by. You are you and your child is your child…your intuition will tell you what’s right for both of you.
• Pushing kids to be something they’re not hurts them and you. They need to live their dreams, not yours.
• Look for ways to honor your child’s gifts. Post the short story she wrote on your Facebook account. Or proudly show guests the Lego fort he built in his room. Tell friends (in her presence), “Meghan taught our dog how to sit, stay and fetch…she has a real gift connecting with animals!” Acknowledging what makes your child unique helps her shape a strong sense of self.
• Be truthful about your child’s shortcomings. Everyone has different strengths. If your child isn’t an academic superstar or a natural athlete, it’s okay. Focus on her strengths rather than trying to hide the truth about what you see as a weakness.
• With everything you do, narrate the “why.” You’re helping your kids understand that you make the choices you make based on a set of beliefs and values that make you, you.
• You’re not Parent of the Year (whatever that means!) and you never will be. Let yourself off the hook. You might not make it to every school event but there is plenty you do right. Focus on those things instead.
• Let the housework go. The struggle to maintain perfect order at all times is the ultimate denial of who we are: beautifully flawed human beings! Spend the time you would have spent mopping playing with your kids instead.
• Seize every opportunity to say, “I love you.” One day it will be your last chance.
About the Authors:
Kathleen McIntire is a transformational teacher, speaker, and healer who is dedicated to bringing forth truth, liberation, and awakening. She is the author and creator of Guiding Signs 101, a set of divination cards and guidebook using everyday road signs to tap into your intuition and own inner guidance.
Kathleen is the producer of two upcoming Mayan films. The first, Mayan Renaissance, is being made by PeaceJam, an international education program for youth built around leading Nobel Peace Laureates. The other film is The Unification of Wisdom and 2012. In the near future she will be a presenter on the Womens Empowerment (WE) Channel on the CANDO Networks. Kathleen’s website addresses are www.soaringinlight.com and www.guidingsigns101.com.
Erin Cote has been involved in creative design for over a decade. Her main focus is on bringing humor and playfulness to professional environments. Through Laughter Therapy she teaches others about the importance of play and laughter. As the founder of ULaugh, Erin conducts laughter presentations and workshops in Northern California for the public, businesses, and hospitals.
Together, Erin and Kathleen bring their talents of wisdom, design, and playfulness into the creation of Guiding Signs 101. Erin can be contacted through her website at: www.UlaughAlot.com or through www.GuidingSigns101.com.