I was watching Keira Knightley’s chat on The Ellen Show. Cinderella and The Little Mermaid are banned in her household, the former because a woman shouldn’t have to wait for a rich man to rescue her and the latter because one should never give up their voice, especially not for a man.
They were but wonderful movies to me that keep me glued to the screen even at an age when I can safely not be called a little girl. But I do agree with Keira’s point of view, only that it takes the magic out of the movies. One of my friends was telling me that the Internet steps in as a pseudo parent, it does no good but means no harm.
As a parent, you’ve got to keep yourself and your child informed of the many options out there. That it is alright to love/ like somebody of the same sex, that it is alright for a person to not conform to a specific gender identity, that it is alright for parents to have multiple marriages, that it is alright to not adhere to a religion, yet be spiritual, that to be spiritual you don’t have to be religious. You get the drift.
All what you read above are my filters. While leading lives where we promote zero waste and tell kids not to waste electricity and tell them to be nice and to work hard, the world out there is scary.
To raise strong and wise children, there never was a more difficult time.
In the course of following my passion, where I coach 16- 18 year olds on their strengths, I have met some wonderful mini- adults. People, who are thoughtful, very articulate and genuinely understand their own value system.
The one quality that I have found in each of these kids that I am referring to here is the “ability to hold a conversation without feeling offended”! Talk to them about anything from misplaced feminism to systemic misogyny to Elon Musk to LGBTQ, they are able to hold their own in a conversation. Very rarely do they resort to raised voices or withdraw from a conversation just because it doesn’t rhyme with their value system.
This freedom of expression comes from homes where dialogue is encouraged and enabled. The motto is- Don’t talk about it if you don’t feel like it, but always remember that not talking about it will not make it vanish.
There are a few ground rules in homes like these-
a. Don’t leave in the midst of a conversation; you don’t have to agree with everything but you most definitely have to have the courtesy of hearing them out
b. When parents fight, the best way to teach your kids conflict resolution is to work out the conflict through conversation, not behind closed doors. Conflicts are a part of life, shielding your children from that only hampers their development
c. When you don’t know enough about a subject to have a point of view, express willingness to learn or do your own research
d. Never never never raise your voiceto be heard. Never.
e. It is great to be passionate about certain topics, people, places; it is okay to have strong views about them too, but it is not okay to disrespect people that have dissimilar or antagonistic views
Crucial conversations with people on the verge of becoming adults gives us a rare insight into the kind of society that we are slowly transforming into. It’s a subtle change. One day you will look back and see nothing is the same.
But then that’s the case with everything, isn’t it?