Connect…more deeply and intently | Parent Wellbeing Blog
I will be running an activity on public speaking and leadership with some of our Year 7 and 8s. *Simon Lancaster – ‘Speak Like A Leader’ – states that ideas presented in threes are inherently more interesting and memorable for your audience. Hence the following:
Kindness, balance and mindset
We need to love and be kind to ourselves in order to give to and love others. Together with kindness comes connection and this is something we need to be doing more of and more intently. Try having daily conversations with your children where you have to listen without interruption for five minutes and reflect back on up to three things – completely free of distraction. It is a process that will help a great deal in connecting more deeply with your children and loved ones. This advice comes at a time when we have got far too used to ‘switching off’ separately; lacking in genuine connection. It is also reflective of what our children have got too used to, which is losing themselves in the online world of communication and activity, and lacking in the awareness of basic conversation skills, not to mention, genuinely connecting through deep and meaningful conversation.
It is clear to me as I write this that we need to make more of an effort with our children to connect and find a healthy balance. There are so many great conversations we could be having whilst engaging in activities such as reading with them, card games and going for walks or riding a bike or even just observing them doing their homework or playing with a friend. Conversation is one of our three C’s at MCM and we could challenge our young a lot more than I believe we are. Finding opportunities for our young to be involved with the planning and preparation of events, meals or trips, for example, is a great way of challenging them, nurturing their curiosity, creativity and helping them to value money. When young people are challenged, it can motivate them to push themselves beyond their comfort zones, which can lead to greater learning and growth. However, it is important to ensure that the challenge is appropriate and not so overwhelming that it becomes discouraging. Find a balance of engaging conversation, ‘me time’ and activity.
How often do we hear our children say, “I’m bored.” To nurture a belief that this is not only good, but necessary takes considered and focused questioning and guidance. When you consider that it is our children’s online activity that takes them away from nature, from doing what childhood once meant to young people: play and exploration, then we have to do more to model the behaviours required to engage with our surroundings, the people around us and to find a healthy balance.
One of the world’s longest studies of happiness concluded that people are happier where social interaction – connection – is positive in three walks of life – with family, friends and the workplace.
It goes without saying that my third word, mindset, is key in achieving happiness and with this comes family values. I recently read an article on the importance of family values, but I also know that a leader leads through a vision, an ethos that galvanises people into action and helps to develop a culture where we all want to see character development and character strengths such as kindness, courage and honesty shining through. It is all too easy for me to write about mindset and in particular a growth mindset, but forming good habits related to this takes time and effort. If we as resilient adults find life difficult then we need to consider the implications for our young if we don’t teach them, or model the skills they need to cope with the challenges that life presents.
If your capacity is half full then you need to be able to balance your time for yourself and your children, or others. If your capacity is minimal then you need to focus on yourself – kindness. This TED talk will give you learnable strategies for coping with adversity, and it reminds us that we all experience adversity at some point in our lives – 3 Secrets Of Resilient People
“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.”
– Christopher Robin
Our mindset as parents, as educators and as part of a community has to be developed, nurtured and resolved through positive relationships for us to feel happy, for us to believe in ourselves more and for us to raise our children as confident, resilient and empowered, beautiful beings. Resilient people know that tough things happen in life. They just know. They accept it. They are really good at choosing carefully where they select their attention, while realistically appraising a situation and focusing on the things they can change and somehow accepting the things that they can’t. They make an intentional, deliberate ongoing effort to tune into what’s good in their world. Resilient people ask themselves, is what they are doing helping or harming them. Wise words from Lucy Hone – 3 Secrets Of Resilient People.
Learn, unlearn and re-learn
What does this actually mean – it relates well to the aforementioned strategies and mindset. Learn, unlearn, and relearn is a popular concept that was first introduced by Alvin Toffler, a futurist and writer, in his book “Future Shock.” The idea behind it is that in a rapidly changing world, we must continually adapt our skills, knowledge, and mindset to stay relevant and effective.
- Learning involves seeking out new information and ideas, practising and honing new skills and expanding one’s understanding of a particular subject or domain.
- Unlearning can be difficult, as it often requires challenging long-held assumptions, questioning conventional wisdom, and being open to new ways of thinking and doing things.
- Relearning involves seeking out new information, practising new skills, and adapting to new ways of thinking and working.
In essence, the “learn, unlearn, and relearn” concept is about embracing change and continuously evolving in response to new challenges and opportunities. It requires a **growth mindset, a willingness to experiment and take risks, and a commitment to lifelong learning.
If you re-read that and think of a young person learning, unlearning and relearning you will have a different sense of what challenges they face, especially if they lack social and physical connection. So embrace and celebrate three core values with your family such as, trust, courage and honesty. Connect more deeply. Have perspective. Be balanced in everything you do, while adopting a growth mindset through intentional focus; and let’s strive to model this for our children both in conversation and in action. All it takes is marginal gains in a variety of areas centred around connecting with people and conversation, which when combined will make significant overall improvement in you and your child’s wellbeing.
Notice where ‘connection’ fits in this new version of Maslows Heirarchy of Needs explained in the excellent book “Transcend: The New Science of Self-Actualization” by psychologist Scott Barry Kaufman:
* Simon Lancaster – Speak Like A Leader TED talk
** Growth Mindset – Big Life Journal UK. A useful resource for understanding Growth Mindset
- 10th Anniversary Lecture by Michelle Chan (OM 1990-1992) – Michelle talks about traveling deeper and in many ways – connecting through reading and travel.