From my lips to your heart

There comes a time in our lives when we have sort of have an awakening, of sorts. It might be when you’re driving during heavy traffic or even sitting on the couch watching TV. Some call it an epiphany, some call it an eye opener. But however you come upon something, it’s like a whole new chapter is revealed.

In my many years of experience working with children, I’ve come across various personalities and characters. There are kids who are loud and confrontational, to the ones who will sit there quietly and stare at you until one of you blinks – and most of the time it’s you, the adult. But perhaps the most delightful characteristic of children is their ability to absorb everything around them. I call them sponges because they can soak up almost anything that they see and hear. 

With all that has been going on in the world, in particular the awakening of injustices, do children really understand what is happening? Depending on the age, they might see it on TV, hear it from their friends, and even see it on social media. And while we can’t protect our children forever, we can only hope to guide them into making the right choices when they’re older and living on their own.

Working at an elementary school has really helped me learn more about myself. Because I work with young children, I have learned to speak slowly and really pay attention to what they’re saying and doing. Education in early childhood can only take you so far, because the personal experiences you receive teaches you so much more.

How do we teach our children to be more accepting of others and of themselves? How can we be more accepting of ourselves and others? Inevitably, the path to teaching kids to be more acceptive starts within ourselves. Yes, it might not always be easy or feasible, but the whole point is to start the conversation with our kids and perhaps, have that same conversation with ourselves.

Allyship – the state or condition of being an ally. You’ve probably been hearing this uncommon word being used more often of late. The awakening of the police injustice, the social injustice, and the climate change all led us to see what has been happening around us. But how do we become an ally? In simple terms – ally is the base word for friendship. Kids have allies their entire childhood. So teach them while they’re still young, that being an ally to someone is the first step to understanding the other side of an opinion.

Words to use for being an ally: friend, kind, like, protect, care. 

Educate – give intellectual, moral, and social instruction to someone. The word educate is all-encompassing. When we educate ourselves or others, we are either giving them information that could hurt or help them. When it comes to education in school, our kids are learning as much as they can with what is given them. But we also depend a lot on teachers and administrators to provide the skills necessary to succeed in future careers. Oftentimes however, parents also depend on teachers to teach their kids how to be human beings. I know that sounds odd, but we shouldn’t solely rely on educators to teach our kids about morals and ethics.

Words to use when educating: learn, teach, grow, adjust, expand, patience.

Justice – the quality of being just; righteousness, equitableness, or moral rightness. Lawfullness. Moral principal. When we think of justice, are we thinking of the opposite of that? Or are we so strung onto the word “justice” that we might forget that the act of justice might directly oppose what we are fighting for? You might hear the word, “social justice warrior” on the internet. That’s actually a derogatory statement as if inferring that those who fight for social justice need be labeled. We want our children to learn the true meaning of justice. It isn’t going onto TikTok and making a meme of the word. It isn’t going on Instagram and hashtagging the word “justice” just to get likes. It is the belief that when we inherently feel something isn’t right we must do something about it. It doesn’t have to be a dangerous act or even a brave one. Just the start of realizing the injustice of something is a good beginning.

Words to use for justice: peace, equal, fair, guidance, morals, lawful.

Climate Change – a change in global or regional climate patterns, largely from increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by the use of fossil fuels. Climate change, or the newest term – climate crisis – is something everyone who lives on this planet should take note of. But far too many people use the term for political gains or arguments. Why are we even arguing about the planet we live on when we are actually living on it? It’s not your neighbor’s problem. It should be everyone’s problem. It’s not just refusing single-use plastic straws. It’s refusing to allow companies to provide us with unnecessary attachments to convenience. The effects of climate change can go on for many years until something even more drastic will happen. That’s why our kids are the best to learn about climate change and help to reverse the detrimental damages. How do we do that? By allowing them to be the change. To be aware of how Earth is being affected. To see how the Earth’s atmoshere is also affecting the planets surrounding it. One of my most favorite website to learn more about our planet is Earth911 (www.earth911.com)

Words to use when talking about climate change: environment, earth, protect, heat, ice, critical, injustice, animals.

Social Justice – the concept of fair and just relations between the individual and society. Examples of social justice are discrimination, ageism, and homophobia. In order to have social justice in our world, we must all work towards understanding and accepting diversity in our communities and country. We all face social injustice at one point in our lives. Whether it’s our gender, our age, our race, or even what clothes we wear. But it doesn’t have to become a fight or turn into hatred. If you look at very young children, you’ll notice that they don’t inheritantly discriminate against someone. That is because most discrimination is taught or learned. If we lived in a just society, then we would most likely all be happier. But human nature prevents us from doing so and that whole debate of whether a behavior is genetic or learned can speak so true in human behavior. 

Words to use when talking about social justice: equality, peace, understanding, fair, opportunities.

The real factor in all of this is to start a conversation with our children or even our adult friends and relatives. In order for there to be positive changes, we must allow our children to believe in what is right and just. We must let them see the dangers of exclusivity. And we must show children that we can use fair judgement and integrity when we act upon something.

 

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

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The Kids Will Be Okay

Homeschooling, Studying, Zooming, Building, Crafting, Drawing, and er…Complaining? Yes, unfortunately all the homeschooling has turned kids into little monsters. Gasp! What?!

But never fear! Your children will be all right. Unless your child was originally home-schooled, there was a lot of adjustment since school campuses had to close. In the beginning, my friends and I laughed, joked, and then intermittently cried over all the math lessons, the essays, and the assignments that had to be turned in on time or we’ll get an email from the teacher. I’ve always had a deep respect for educators, but having to teach children that are not of their blood for seven hours straight, five days a week is definitely not the easiest job in the world.

As a parent, I’ve learned the hard way that kids are actually more resilient than adults. And they are quite forgiving. You can get mad at them, yell at them, even ground them. But a couple hours later, everything is forgotten and forgiven. That is why, as a parent, it’s our sole duty to protect our children and teach them to do the right thing so that when they become adults, they will hopefully learn from all the life lessons that we taught them.

Once again, as I started writing this a week ago, I was going to shed some insights and tips on kids ending the school year and going into an uncertain summer. But as we were faced with the tragic results of police brutality and the injustice faced by people of color – in particular the black community – I wanted to share something that we can do to help our children. Whether you are a parent or not, you should realize that everything starts at childhood. Children are not inherently evil. They do not inherently know that one person’s color of skin should be treated differently than another color. Evil. Cruelty. Shame. Those are just a few injustices that almost everyone faces at one time in their lives. And as children, they learn from what is around them, whether it’s through their parents and family members, at school, on television, or what they see on social media and video games. I am by no means a professional psychiatrist, but I can speak frankly as a mother, an educator, and as a minority.

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” – Nelson Mandela

How true are those words spoken by Nelson Mandela all those years ago. But sometimes as parents, we forget that what we say or do directly affects our children. They see what’s around them. They hear what’s around them. And they react to what is shown them. Even if we are most careful to hide certain acts and thoughts from them, children will inevitably pick something up. Even if we do not mean to shame someone or put someone down, our children will pick up those innuendos. And eventually, if we don’t let our children know that what we did was wrong and try to make a change, then they will think it’s okay. If mommy and daddy did it, it must be okay to do it. If my friend did it, then it must be okay to do it. If my teacher did it, it must be okay to do it. It’s tough being a kid, and because they are so innocent and naive, their little sponge minds can pick up on almost anything they see and hear.

So let’s go back to the resiliency I mentioned. Yes, kids are pretty resilient and tenacious. They fall, they get up, and they move on. And they do so because it’s what they know inside them. They haven’t yet learned that it’s scary to fall or that it’s painful to have a scraped knee. Pain might be an instinctual reaction, but fear is usually learned and taught. So let’s take their most progressive years of learning and teach them only good things. Teach them about compassion. Love. And common respect.  Because only through the eyes of compassion and respect will be bring meaningful change.

If you need some help in how to guide your kids on coping with tragedy and trauma, below are some outlines from the Orange County Department of Education.

Be understanding.

Not everyone reacts the same way in times of crisis. Some children may become more quiet or withdrawn, while others may become irritable or act out. These are all normal reactions, and adults need to respond in a calm and caring way. The National Child Traumatic Stress Network says how children experience traumatic events and show their distress will depend largely on their age and level of development.

Take time to connect.

Sometimes adults can become preoccupied with disturbing events and managing their own responses. They can forget that children are aware of what’s happening. Take a moment to check in with your child and let them know they can talk to you and ask questions.

Limit their exposure.

As our friends at CHOC Children’s have noted, parents should consider the proximity of an event and what information a child truly needs to know. Be aware of televisions that are on and showing news coverage in common areas. Talk about the child’s feelings and concerns, provide reassurance, and offer age-appropriate information — more on that in a moment — to help clarify misunderstandings and reduce fear. We can also teach children to use their own coping skills, such as talking to a trusted adult or doing activities like playing with friends, reading, praying, singing, dancing or creating art.

Promote self-care.

In time of crisis, many of us become the caretakers of those who are most affected. These selfless acts of kindness are greatly appreciated, but adults must also remember to take care of themselves. Promoting self-care will ensure you do not burn out or experience higher levels of compassion fatigue, allowing you to care for others for a longer period of time with greater efficiency.

Show patience.

Just as individuals may have varying responses in times of tragedy, they will also have different timeframes for healing. Try your best to be patient with those you’re caring for, as they may have a shorter or longer response time to the crisis.

Make sure to follow up.

Check in periodically to make sure children are continuing to cope in healthy ways. If additional support is needed, reach out to a school counselor or clinician. The majority of schools have counselors who can meet with students to check in, help them process what they are experiencing and teach them about healthy coping strategies. If you would prefer seeking services outside of school, most medical insurances offer coverage.

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Keep explanations appropriate.

Meanwhile, the National Association of School Psychologists offers these suggestions for keeping explanations of school-based violence developmentally appropriate:

  • Early elementary school students need brief, simple information that is balanced with reassurances that their schools and homes are safe and that adults are there to protect them. Give simple examples of school safety that remind children about exterior doors being locked, child monitoring efforts on the playground, and emergency drills being practiced so they are prepared if somethings happens.

  • Upper elementary and early middle school students will be more vocal in asking questions about whether they truly are safe and what is being done at their school. They may need assistance separating reality from fantasy. Discuss efforts of school and community leaders to provide safe schools and provide concrete examples.

  • Upper middle school and high school students will have strong and varying opinions about the causes of violence in schools and society. They will share concrete suggestions about how to make school safer and how to prevent tragedies in society. Emphasize the role that students have in maintaining safe schools by following school safety guidelines — for example, not providing building access to strangers, reporting strangers on campus, and reporting threats made by students or community members — communicating any personal safety concerns to school administrators, and accessing support for emotional needs.

In the end, you are the parent or caregiver. You know your child best. But right now, most kids will see and hear about the recent events. They already know about the pandemic crisis so to add their fears and doubts about what they might see on television or hear from their family and friends could be quite traumatizing and confusing.

 

*photo rights -OCDE.US

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

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He Named Me Malala – DVD Review and Worldwide TV Premiere

HENAMEDMEMALALA POSTER

“One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world.”

Have you ever felt so strongly for something, so profound that you ache with every fiber of your being to make a change? To make a difference in your life and the lives around you? That was the belief for Malala Yousafzai, a young girl from Pakistan who was taught to believe in fairness, kindness, and equality for her people.

Malala, at a very young age was taught by her father to learn more than what her station in life will ever teach her. She saw and experienced injustice living under the tyrannical leadership of the Taliban. But even through constant fear of being captured and punished, Malala triumphed on, believing that girls should and must receive proper education just like their male counterparts. When she was 15 years old, Malala was singled out by the Taliban and shot for advocating education for girls. She survived and the incident only pushed her to work harder, to confirm her belief that what she was fighting for was worth the pain, the hardship, and the dangers.

I was given a copy of the pre-released DVD, He Named Me Malala, from the Director of Waiting for “Superman” and Academy Award Winner An Inconvenient Truth for my honest review. The documentary told the story of Malala starting as a young child learning through the guidance of her father that education for everyone, not just women, is the way to a better life. Through clever animation and real life footage, we got to experience through Malala and her father’s eyes the fear that they faced, the cruelty of trying to live a normal life as a woman in Pakistan, and to teach other girls that they can be more than who they are. I was deeply touched from watching the movie, never truly understanding the hardships these women faced because of their gender and where they lived. It’s a beautiful and poignant movie and will touch people of any age and gender. Don’t be afraid of showing your children this movie as it might teach them about equality and the heavy price of believing something more than what your environment teaches you.

As you watch the documentary, listening to the hauntingly beautiful music, and the creative journalistic story, I hope we can all learn that courage comes through in the darkest nights, that light shines brighter than the sinister enemies that may prevent us from being better. As Malala stated in her UN speech, “One child, one teacher, one book, and one pen can change the world.”

In 2014, Malala was the youngest person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. On Monday, February 29, He Named Me Malala will premiere on the National Geographic Channel at 8pm/ET/PT in the US and globally in 171 Countries and 45 languages. Please set your clock so that you and your family can watch this moving, heartwrenching, and inspiring movie and hopefully understand that young girls around the world need to go to school, to get proper education, and to be free of oppression.

As a side note, the Taliban did not believe in proper education for women. According to Malala, she believed that the Taliban was afraid that educating women would lead to change. And change for a tyrant leads to freedom of oppression.

Please visit the Malala Fund: https://www.malala.org/ for donations, purpose, and general information about how to help women of all ages around the world have proper education and the right to be educated.

For more info about Malala and this documentary please check out the following websites:

Movie  clip: https://www.youtube.com/embed/3ghiYve6k68

Website: http://www.henamedmemalalamovie.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HeNamedMeMalala

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Review Wire Media

(http://media.thereviewwire.com) for 20th Century Fox. I received information to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation.

Disclaimer: The product(s)were sent to the author for review by the manufacturer/PR. All reviews on “Happymomblogger” remain unbiased and unpaid and are the sole decision of the author. The opinions of these product(s) were not influenced in any way, shape, or form. As always, please read the ingredients carefully when trying new products.

Please read the labels and ingredients carefully and follow all manufacturer’s instructions (if any). The products selected for the giveaway were generously donated by the companies/PR to help readers learn more about their products. The winner’s choice in using/consuming these products are entirely up to the winner and will not hold the author and her family liable nor the companies/PR liable. These products are made with non-toxic ingredients but always be safe with what you use and consume.

http://www.topmommyblogs.com/blogs/in.php?id=storm