How About Some Humility (and Humanity) with Your Holiday?

Ok, admittedly this is a weird blog to be putting out there around the holiday season, but I just can’t help myself.   Weird in the fact that it is not obviously nutrition related.  But I actually think it does affect the way we feel about ourselves, thus how we treat our bodies.  This is something I feel passionately about and is a missing piece for many  (adults and children alike).  Also, if you are looking for blogs on healthy holiday snacks, meals, or treats, how to keep the weight off during the holidays, low calorie recipes, high calories recipes, average number of calories in a Thanksgiving meal, high fiber foods, low fiber foods, energy drinks are bad, coconut water is good, gluten free anything,  alcohol packs on the pounds, cleansing diets, green smoothie recipes, etc., etc., etc., you can google any of these and find a ton of hits.  It might be more difficult to to find a blog on the topic above.  Although maybe not.  Just go with me here and if there is any piece of this that hits home or you can share with your child, please do so.

Is there anybody who can say they are not a fan of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas?”  It’s an absolute holiday classic and I could watch it a million times.  I found this picture above which is one of my favorite scenes from this movie.  The Grinch does his absolute best to take Christmas away from the Whoville people but he can’t do it.  The Whovillians wake up Christmas morning only to find all their presents, food, decorations, etc. are gone.  All the things we spend so much time preparing for the entire holiday season, gone.  The Grinch, expecting the Who’s to be miserable and sad, all gather outside, hold hands, and sing around the tree.  They are still smiling and appear happy.  Clearly, it’s a fantasy.   But wouldn’t it be great if it weren’t?

The people I admire most in this world are those that seem happy and at peace with themselves, no matter what their life circumstances.  I don’t feel envious of the person with a bigger house, designer clothes, or more Facebook “likes.”  I aspire to be that person that tries to see the glass half full (I said I ASPIRE to be not that I always am).   Or that person that doesn’t worry about what people  think of them.  They put on no pretenses.  They DON’T need approval from those around them.  They feel it from within and don’t need to advertise their new job promotion, how proud they are of a child, or how their “perfectionism” is their biggest weakness (as if answering a job interview question).   I also appreciate those that are able to admit their weaknesses, faults, and shortcomings.   To truly be able to search within yourself and  admit certain things about yourself, is invaluable.  How else do we improve upon ourselves?   For example, do you know any one that  supposedly has NEVER done anything they are ashamed of, wished they hadn’t, or maybe was not ethically the “right” thing to do (and neither have any of their relatives, by the way)?  And they will NEVER admit it.  It seems these people are perfect or wish to be perceived as such.  Would it be so bad to say they are sorry or have some regrets?   We are all human.  We all do and say things we shouldn’t.  We have all done things where we lay in bed at night and say “I shouldn’t have done that.”  Would it be so bad to admit it?  At least to maybe to a good friend or  two?  Is it best to present an image to the world that may not be authentic?  I try to figure out why people are like this.   I can only guess it makes them feel good or superior in some way.  Maybe pride gets in their way.

What is it we want to teach our children?  I happen to live in an area that is very affluent with many kids that have not had to deal with adversity.  As parents, we make it easy for them to not take responsibility for themselves.  We just can’t do enough to try to make them happy.   Do we benefit them by ALWAYS being their advocate?  Can we help raise better children by sometimes letting them fail and pick up the pieces?  Do we help them by praising them when they don’t deserve it?  Is it in their best interest to post a Facebook comment (I assume people do this so their kids, others, and their children’s friends will see) informing the world of your inability to contain how special they are and how proud you are of them?  Do people know we all feel that way about our kids?

Let’s take this holiday season to really think about how we would like to raise our children and what the best ways are to help them become responsible, caring adults.   I’m going to make some suggestions that  will only benefit them in the long run and help prepare them for the real world.

Love your children unconditionally, always

Praise them WHEN they DESERVE it.  Do not use praise loosely.  The real world won’t.

Let them resolve their own problems.  Do not “fix” things for them.   Mom and Dad are the only ones who do this.  Their boss, college professor, or police officer, will not.

Do not accept disrespectful behavior.  This must start at a young age.

They are not your “friend” or “equal.”  Do not treat them as such.

Model and teach kindness and compassion.

Encourage them to be who they are.  Not who they think people want them to be.

Show them that material things don’t matter.   This could be the toughest lesson of all.  Especially if an expensive car, designer clothes, fancy dinners out, handing them money at the drop of a hat are how we are living our lives.  Children become defined by these things instead of who is at the inner core of their being.

Being their advocate is important, however, doing this when they have done something wrong sends the wrong message.  Again, in the real world no one is going to do this for them.  They need to learn there are consequences to their actions.

Just keep in mind they WILL lie to us.  They WILL skew a story that makes them look good.  Their friends are always the bad guys.  I personally do not want to have my children make me look foolish.  It’s embarrassing when everyone knows something about your child and you think they are God’s gift to this world.   I have experienced this personally so this one is near and dear to my heart.

Model and teach them how to be a good friend.

I’m tired of hearing “boys will be boys” or “that’s the way girls are today.”  That’s “normal.”  There are behaviors I just cannot and will not tolerate from my own children.  Do not accept meanness, cruelty, or not being a good friend as “normal.”  I am not saying I can control these things but I will not accept them if I do find out.  Some things are just wrong and our children need to know this.  Let’s stop making excuses as to why bad behavior is ok.

Children will make mistakes.  Let’s help them learn from them.

I could go on and on.  Bottom line is that there is too much egocentrism in general in our society.  I think as a community we promote it in our children.  Let’s teach them how to be kind to themselves and to others.  If they are kind to themselves, they will find it easier to be kind to their bodies.  Whether this means not being critical of their own body weight or appearance or making healthier food choices, this all ties together.  Let’s make our goal for ourselves and our children to love ourselves and others during good times and bad.  Even though we don’t get the grade we want, the designer jeans we need, or make the sports team, it’s ok.   My quote today is from a coffee mug that I got and I LOVE it:

“Peace.   It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work.  It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.”  Unknown