Hi Everyone in J-Land:
This week's assignment: Weekend Assignment #99: "What do others think they could do to make a difference? It doesn't have to be life-altering, as the smallest conception can bring the biggest results." In addition to things you could do, I'll also add in that if you are currently doing things you think make a difference, you can mention those, too.
Extra Credit: Name someone you know who you admire for making a difference.
This assigment is important to me because it hits close to home as to who I am in relationship to someone who can make a difference. I believe that the most important difference we can make in people's lives is how we talk to our children. In order to produce healthy, productive adults, it is of utmost importance to be careful of the words we choose to use with children. If a child routinely hears "you'll never amount to anything," or "no wonder you don't have any friends," how do you think this child will feel about who he/she is? However, if a child hears, "I love you; I'm proud of you; Great job!" woudln't you think this child will have an advantage over the other? I believe in the theory of self-fulfilling prophecy - if you hear something enough times about yourself, you will believe it and eventually live it.
I do not let a day go by without letting my children each know how special they are. One is very brainy/techy and the other is extremely creative but struggles academically. I am careful to reinforce their strengths, such as encouraging my creative daughter to improve her math skills by doing hands-on exerises (using flour tortillas to learn fractions!). My brainiac rushes through his work and occasionally forgets to turn in his homework, and has to be reminded that because he is so smart it is important to get credit for his work- the only way to get credit is to turn in the work. They're still young, so I don't mind giving gentle reminders.
The first half of my childhood, until I was about 10 years old, was with my abusive, alcoholic father and I heard about every horrible thing there is to say. However, I did not allow his abuse to mold my life in a negative way. I learned from it and decided children do much better with positive, affirming, nurturing words than destructive and hate-filled words.
It is up to us as parents to decide what seeds we will plant in our children. Will we plant fruitful words so that our children grow into confident, productive, and loving adults? Or will we choose the road so many others choose and have no regard for the feelings and concerns of our children? I choose the road less traveled, and I pray my children become better adults for it.
EC: My mother made the biggest difference in my life by getting us away from our life of abuse. She demonstrated incredible strength as she began a life on her own after never having had a real job, yet continued to successfully raise four children. Way to go Mom!!