Saturday, October 1, 2016

Children Need Hope Too

Back in the day (as the current millenniums would call it), children were often told, “children should be seen and not heard.” However, in 2016, it’s a different story. Not only should children be seen, they must be heard. You must not only see where your children are and where they are going, you also must hear what they are saying, and clarify what they are not saying. Children do have something to say, and it is time for us, as adults, to listen. 

We have officially entered the fall season where you will see a change in temperature, as well as a change in your natural scenery, wherever you are. The fall scenery is often very breathtaking with red, gold, and orange leaves serving as the backdrop of all that’s naturally beautiful. And then the leaves fall from the trees, leaving them bare. I am sure that there are seasons in each of your lives when you feel bare; completely exposed to the many things taking place within and around your life that you cannot control. As the seasons change, so too do the circumstances of you life. And as for children, the changes can be drastic.

Wouldn’t it be great if like the seasons, your life and your life circumstances were predictable? You would know that truly, there is a time limit and a term limit for the in-between temperatures and the ups and downs of the temperatures, moving into warmth, with mild temperatures, sunshine and rain, as the barren landscape begins to breathe new life and greenery  (spring). But even after spring, you have some level of predictability as to how the three seasons that follow will show up and move through your life. You are sure that summer will soon arrive, followed by fall, and winter is sure to come.

As for the seasons, you are allowed to make preparations for the changes to come. What about the predictability of your life situations and life circumstances?  Rarely are you prepared to tackle them. If as an adult, you are having difficulty predicting and preparing for your life situations and life circumstances, how do you think children are viewing their inability to predict and prepare for things going on in their lives? And we must remember, children are not only being fraught with the unpredictability of their life situations and life circumstances, they are also trying to deal with their own developmental changes. And when combined together, children often begin to feel helpless and hopeless, just like adults.

There are many unpredictable societal ills that our children are faced with, and probably not dealing with, all because they don’t know how to deal with them; there is too much uncertainty and too many things and circumstances out of their control. One of these major uncertainties you and your children are currently facing is the fact that this country is in the midst of the most unusual, challenging, scary, and unprecedented presidential election that has rendered many of you fearful and unsure as to what the future holds, leaving everyone bare and exposed. However, one thing you can count on and that you can ensure your/our children of, is that THERE IS A LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL! There is HOPE!

The uncertainties in life often bring worry, fear, despair, a sense of helplessness and a sense of hopelessness. If you are fearful and unsure about the future, how do you think children feel? They, too, are probably feeling even more fearful, unsure, bare, and not in control of the situations and circumstance that they see and hear about in the news, in their schools, in their communities, and even those in their homes. Children are often confronted with death on a daily basis; the deaths of people who look like them, mirror them in age, but without explanation or reason. They are faced with issues related to bullying, divorce, poverty, racism, sexism, and issues related to single-parent households. Like you, children need hope too! 

Based on the aforementioned, the reality is that there is no way for children to only be seen and not heard. Children have thoughts and emotions too, no matter what age. Either we hear them now, build hope within them for now and for the future, or we will pay dearly later. If there is no outlet for all the stuff that is being let into the lives of our children, there will eventually be an implosion or an explosion!

In the scheme of things, it’s amazing that so many of our children are not involved in aberrant behaviors or diagnosed with conduct disorders and other mental health disorders. It’s also amazing that children make it from home to school and back home each day. They really need to be commended! And you want to talk about what they hear in their music or what they see in different forms of the media? Take some time to listen and watch what they are listening to and watching. Either they receive their messages of hope from you, or they will receive these messages from what they hear and what they see from others. Like you, children are also seeking answers, clarification, and hope.

As parents and adults, we were placed here to help children to remain hopeful in the midst of the crises that take place within and around their lives. Because you have persevered and combated many of life’s ills, you are in a much better position to help your/our children to learn to do the same. You can help them and guide them in remaining steadfast in their beliefs about positive outcomes, even in the midst of storms. Children need you to have their backs during these seemingly tumultuous times, helping them to learn to be proactive and not reactive; to remain hopeful, to speak hope, and to see hope in the midst of every dark cloud.
As you remain strong and encouraged, you help your/our children remain faithful, believing that the sunshine DOES come after the rain. They will be hopeful that if there was a way into a seeming dark situation, there must be a way out of it. Hope also builds trust and more effective, open, and positive communication. Hope allows your/our children to see you as an adult that they can go to and trust in your guidance, in the midst of any and every difficult situation.

Listed below are ways you can help ALL children to hold on through the darkness, until everyone sees the light. And if there are some who decide to remain in the dark, you and the children you are guiding will keep it moving, remaining faithful and hopeful! It's time to not only give our children hope, but to help them to see that they are the HOPE for the future! 

How to instill hope in children during these difficult times:

·      Be a model & a role model for ALL children
·      Be a guide & protector for ALL children
·      Teach children self-love
·      Teach them to be responsible
·      Teach them to be accountable
·      Teach them love & respect you and others
·      Teach them how to pray & about the POWER of prayer
·      Pray with & over your children on a daily basis
·      Give them a voice
·      Listen to your children
·      Give them permission to say & believe “I AM SOMEBODY”
·      Teach them their history—It does & it CAN repeat itself! They need to know the good & the bad about where they come from
·      Remind them of the movements---How we got to where we are; those who fought & died for their freedom
·      Remind them that we haven’t arrived yet-until ALL of us have arrived, none of us have arrived
·      Teach them that ALL lives matter & Black Lives Matter TOO
·      Teach them how to be proactive & not reactive
·      Teach them how to deal with issues rationally & not emotionally
·      Watch some of their programs & listen to some of their music with them
·      Teach them how not to be fearful
·      Share the realities of life with them & how to deal with them
·      Provide them with encouragement
·      Teach them that there is ALWAYS a light at the end of the tunnel
·      Teach them that the sunshine ALWAYS comes after the rain
·      Teach them that there is ALWAYS a tomorrow
·      Teach them how to ALWAYS remain faithful & believe
·      Remind them if there was a way in, there MUST be a way out
·      Teach them YES YOU CAN

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