Hillel taught: what is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor; this is the whole Torah and the rest is just commentary.
As homeschooling moms we all want to do our best to educate our kids. We make routines, set up schedules, make menu plans, make sure to daven with them, learn, teach them to read and write, do fun science projects, take them on trips and whatever we can possibly do to help their little brains grow.
This weekend we went away to a big city where my kids were with lots of other kids and around lots of other adults. One of the mothers came over to me while our kids were playing and says, 'your kids are so nice! Do they ever fight?" I laughed (really loudly!) and said yes, they do indeed fight. A lot, actually!
But then I gave myself a pat on the back (and my hubby too) and realized that as much as I doubt myself and constantly worry and try to always figure this whole parenting and homeschooling thing out, my husband and I are raising NICE kids. Kids who are nice to other kids. Kids who don't call other kids names or make fun of them. Kids who include others in their games, kids who speak respectfully to adults. Kids who respect others and respect themselves.
We cant stop our kids from fighting, but we can set up certain lines that cannot be crossed when they fight. An example in our house is no name calling and you cant use the "H" word (hate). We actually all sat down one day and made "Our Family Rules" together at the kitchen table. Here is what we came up with and every time another mom comes over she asks me to email her a copy! I printed it out and laminated it and its up front and center in our kitchen.
And no, my kids don't keep all the rules all the time, but when a rule is broken we go over to the poster and point it out- "remember, it says no running in the house, lets find somewhere else to run," or an appropriate consequence is given.
Yes, I hope my kids excel academically and continue to enjoy their learning path. And yes, I hope that they are successful in their schooling. But to me, success will be seeing my children in healthy relationships, making healthy choices and living a spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically healthy life.
So while we are busy planning their curriculum and making sure they know their Alef Bet, don't forget to treat them with respect, don't forget to discipline them with love, don't forget to speak to your spouse with respect and to argue with them in front of your kids- yes, I said that. Because if your kids see their parents disagree in a healthy way and then see them resolve a situation, this will model how to disagree respectfully and then come up with resolutions.
We are with our kids ALL the time- when they see the way we interact with them, our spouses and other people, that is a model for them. If we are nice and treat people with respect, yet at the same time be assertive and put up healthy boundaries, this will be our kids first lesson in dealing with others.
I have lots of goodies up ahead to share with you,
Enjoy the rest of your week!