2020 has undoubtedly been a challenging year for many of us, and while we’re more than ready to ring in 2021, we have learned some very important lessons this year. We’ve asked a few parents from our community to share what values they’re taking into the New Year!
In 2020, we had to put a halt to the scheduled activities, the back and forth hustle and bustle and the endless feeling of never having enough time-or being enough as a parent. Coming into 2021, let’s remember the importance of not overscheduling our kids’ lives and drop the guilt for spending more time being together rather than doing. Let’s remember to stop trying to have it all in every moment and make an effort to recognize that we already do. One day we will all realize that the moments we spend enjoying time with our children will be the richest moments of our lives.
As we move out of the year 2020, I begin to see with hindsight one of the best lessons my family learned this year and I hope others have as well. Being home for so long during lockdown helped us truly embrace “being” together, rather than doing, going, working, achieving. We made puzzles, played LEGO, baked, cooked and practiced the Danish art of “hygge” in a profound way; that is-being present in the moment with the ones you love. Hygge isn’t mindfulness, it’s we-fulness and it’s so beneficial for our children.
There’s been a lot of discussion on why it’s important to raise race-conscious kids, but not nearly enough on how to do so or even when to start. With such a heavy topic, having a game plan can make all the difference. You may think that treading lightly is the best course of action, but does that really help? Our children are way more aware than us parents would like to think. Studies have shown that children as young as two are racially aware and children as young as three have witnessed a form of racism, either towards them or someone they know. And while they may not know it is racism most children do understand it isn’t right. So how do you prepare someone so young for these types of encounters? Or better yet, how do you ensure they themselves aren’t the ones participating in such acts?
It all starts with a conversation. This may look different based on their age, but the principles should be the same. Explaining that everyone is different, not just based on their race, but also their own experiences, religious beliefs and a host of other things. And these differences are what make us special and unique. Which is never a bad thing.
From there, implement diversity in your child’s life. This can be as simple as buying a doll of a different ethnicity than you normally do. Or ensuring the people they come in contact with are diverse. Even adding some diversity to their Youtube line up can help. Putting just a little extra time and thought into their activities can be the turning point. The more you introduce them to people of different backgrounds the easier it will be for them to connect the idea to treat everyone equally.
My final tip is making sure you yourself, as well as other adults don’t display any negative feelings towards another person for their differences. But if that situation ever does arise, making sure to correct it, explain and apologizing will go a long way!
When I think of a family with young children, “eco-friendly” would not be the first adjective that comes to mind. There are so many stages and circumstances that naturally lead to creating waste or energy expenditure. Plastic diapers, crafts supplies, driving all over town, these were all a big part of our lives after my husband and I had our kids. However, with children also came a reexamination of our values and the lessons that we wanted to impart upon the next generation. I’ve grown up caring about the environment, and becoming a parent helped me put my concerns into action. That’s how kids learn, right?
Our two girls are now a part of many of the eco-minded decisions we make. They help us fill our mason jars of dried goods at the bulk store, they say “no thank you” to balloons at birthday parties, and they never get tired of telling their peers that they are part of a “green family”. Watching my little eco-warriors grow up with values that will help build a safe and healthy future for themselves is more than I can ask for as a parent!
At this point, it feels cliche to say it, but…2020 has been a trip, right? And not the kind you wanted or planned to take. It has been a difficult year as a society, as a professional, and as a parent. My family is not immune to the hardships that were born from 2020’s worldwide pandemic, election shenanigans, and everything else that we faced. But one thing that has not only gotten us through, but has made us closer and more connected, is our mindfulness practice. As much as I help other families, it seems full circle that this year showed me and my family just how important mindfulness is.
First and foremost, our mindfulness practice helped us accept what we cannot change and examine what we can. It allowed us to grieve our broken expectations and realize that life is ever-changing and impermant. We were able to gain a perspective that we can work diligently to do our part to care for other humans and spend our time together learning new things and resting! Acceptance is so critical in relationships.
Secondly, our mindfulness practice allowed us more time together. As a business owner, I often work close to 60-70 hours a week. As I stayed home, I realized much of what I, what we collectively, do is unnecessary busyness! It allowed us to better prioritize our personal and work goals. I am proud to say that I am going into 2021 with a more focused path that allows me to continue spending more quality time with my own family by working smarter, not more. My children are so grateful for that, as am I.
Mindful living and daily meditation has helped me understand each of my own children a little bit better and has helped them understand their own big feelings surrounding this year. We’ve gotten to deepen our connection together through more time, more play, and more learning.