"These are my own beliefs and view, and in no way reflect how I feel about how others chose to raise their children, this is a non-judgemental point of view....."
When my first was born I visualized a bubble around him, soft and beautiful . In my head this was my gift to him, a promise to keep him safe and loved. He is now 6 1/2!
I have made it my promise to protect my children from the violence of the world around them (in their bubbles) during their CHILDHOOD. Some might call this being "over protective", it is just not the way I think....how can you "overprotect" small children that depend on you for safety of their bodies as well as their minds and spirits?
I BELIEVE....children need their childhood to play, grow, laugh, learn, smile, explore, imagine. (I could go on and on here) without such scary things they are developmentally NOT ready to grasp and are are scary.
I BELIEVE....adult problems are ADULT problems, and not a child's business, they have their own problems to learn to resolve, such as sharing, getting along with other children, figuring out how to get dressed, go to the bathroom, and how to be heard with out interrupting (particularly hard for my son to learn right now, but he is working on it!) These may seen insignificant compared to our worries about war,bills and politics. But these are the "problems" that are going to teach them how to resolve adult problems, later in life.
I BELIEVE...in NON-VIOLENT play, I just feel at such a young impressionable age, it is just not necessary to hard wire their brains with images of fighting, destruction, anger and violence. My husband has a theory on not giving the boys play tools,
he BELIEVES... to give them real tools and teach them how to use and respect them with teach them a safe and responsible way to use real tools, and not hurt them selves or others, when given toy tools they pretend to saw off Papa's legs, because its plastic and cant really hurt him (lets hope our little one does not get his hands on a real saw!) The toy tools have been removed from the house, except for a wooden tool box with nuts and bolts and a screwdriver.
WE BELIEVE...the same is true for toy weapons! I to often witness children (mostly boys) smacking each other with bats, sticks, swords, light savers, or pretending to kill each other...really? We were at an event recently and this is what I heard....
Here is where the holes are being put in my bubbles....
"I am going to blow up the church!"
"She is dead, we cut off her head"
"I am going to kill you"
I went to check on Mason during this violent and forceful play situation, and he was happily playing with a toy by himself, completely ignoring the war like situation that was playing out around him! This made my heart both warm and sad at the same time.
Society does not BELIEVE....what I believe. I am happy he is able to not engage in this kind of play when all the other kids are, He is also able to say "I don't like to play those games" to other children. but it makes me sad that there is not more peaceful kind of play. Sometimes he will encourage an imaginative game that is non-violent, but most of the time it is not.
I also notice that the non-violent play is mostly with girls...how come we encourage the boys to fight and play with weapons but not the girls...we are not living in mid evil times here anymore, where boys had to be trained to fight and defend...its 2011..we have an Army to train soldiers how to use weapons responsibly if they chose to defend and fight as adults..why at such a young age?
I am not naive, I know that there is violence and desperation in the world, but not in my child's world (for now), I know someday they will have to be exposed to it and learn about how the world is unfair. They will learn that there are mean people too, but not for as long as I can keep that bubble around them
The bubble so far (for 6 1/2 yrs) has taught my son to be kind, compassionate, thoughtful, peaceful, and given him a chance to explore nature during his play. It has kelp his imagination open to creative, non-violent play situations. I truly don't think he knows how to be mean (to hurt), every child disagrees and argues. The key is to model and teach them NON-VIOLENT conflict resolution to their problems.
I BELIEVE in PEACE education!......
Yesterday with 2 other families the Codianis and the Havens we had a day of Peace education. we started by asking the children ages 9month-6years, what they thought Peace is?
Athena (5yrs) - "Peace is laying on the beach" we then pretended to lay on the beach, we got out the ocean drum for sound effect, and each child took a turn making the peaceful sounds of the ocean.
Hunter (3yrs)- "taking a warm bath"
Janelle (mom)- I imagine a light coming from my body and wrapping around the world with all the people I love"
Katelyn (mom)- When I think of being peaceful, I imaging I am a flower, can you imagine what it would be like to be a flower?"
Baby Henry (9months) thinks its peaceful to nurse
Naiome (3yrs) enjoyed listening to every ones thoughts
Mason (6 1/2 yrs) "being quiet" so we played the silence game, we were quiet for 1 minuet, then talked about what we heard.
James- enjoyed listening to every ones thoughts
We talked about how to use a Peace Rose to solve conflict resolutions. Each person was given a silk peace rose to take home and use. see this article for more on this. We role played a situation, where one child grabs from another. We also looked at peace cards, which have the word "Peace" written in all different languages. We also made copies of the "Peace Pledged" from the United Nations Pledge. You can sign it online and send it in too. We also printed a color copies for each family and framed them. Mason and Athena made Friendship Flowers. from NAMC. They also shared a snack and lunch together.
Over all it was a very peaceful day, We plan to continue with peace education, through out our lives.
I know eventually my boys bubbles with slowly get holes and the reality of the worlds problems with be let in, but for now...during their childhood....
I will not have the adult news on the T.V. while my children are around, nor discuss scary worldly events in front of them, that they do not understand.
I will not provide violent T.V, movie, or computer exposure
I will not allow toy weapons in the home (if they pick up a stick and use it as a weapon, we will talk about how that could hurt someone (for real)
I will not tolerate hitting, pushing, mean words (to hurt), or violence in our house
I will model appropriate behaviors inside and outside of the house for my children to witness, this means no gossip, road rage, snide remarks or prejudice remarks about others. Good manners and kind gestures towards others.
I will talk to them about why people behavior the way they do as situations arise and talk about how it could have been handled differently and peacefully.
I will GIVE them the words to use, to solve conflicts with peers.
I PROMISE to give my children a strong sense of peace in their childhood!