By Sarah Kessler Ojeda
Every day I think of all the important values and personality traits I want for my child and for the children at my school. I try my best to keep a mindful mindset. Parents, teachers and counselors want the best for every child and it is hard to prioritize what is most important in building lifelong skills and developing healthy mindsets all the way through adulthood.
Every person is different but, for me, I needed it simple. Something I can come back to in my most frustrating parental moments. My mantra is to foster independence, kindness and resilience.
As hard as it is to let go, I want my son to be independent, go to college, pursue his passions. If children are too dependent on friends or parents, it stifles their ability to grow. It may be the hardest thing to do, but my hope is that it will make him happy and successful.
We went skiing this past spring break and Thomas could not have been more excited for ski school. So much so, on the second day we are in line to check in with about five kids in front of us. TK looked at me and said “Mom, I am going to give you a hug now so that when it is my turn I can just run right in!” He proceeded to give me a big hug and kiss and then we waited for the line to move. About five minutes later TK did just what he said, he took off. While it tugged at my heartstrings that I didn’t get another little hug I thought to myself, “this is good.” He is comfortable, confident, and independent.
In my opinion, hatred is learned. My hope is for children to spread kindness around like confetti. There is never a need for hate because it is ok to disagree with someone without being disagreeable. I am always telling Thomas it is OK to be mad but it is not OK to be mean. At any age you can teach conflict resolution skills and diversity of thought.
Resiliency is something I have really been practicing with the students at my school. Let’s face it, the world is becoming more rigorous every day and it doesn’t stop for even our youngest little children. Curriculum, tests, sports, and even friendships have all become harder to maintain and kids must learn how to bounce back from failure. This is one of the number one topics of discussion my students bring to my office.
My child is far from perfect. There are days when he is not resilient, independent or kind. But, I try to appreciate and reinforce times when he does exhibit behaviors I believe will help him become a happy and contributing member of our family and community.
Sarah Ojeda was an elementary school teacher for ten years before becoming the counselor in Northside Independent School District in San Antonio. She is currently working on her Licensed Professional Counseling certification.