I have had these rules in my home for a while. They are somewhat funny and sarcastic but very very real that I teach my children both directly and indirectly. I want to share my family rules with you. The first of which is be aware of your surroundings. I always think of the TV show “Psych” when I think of this rule.
I have covered my son’s eyes before, told my daughter to close her eyes, and asked, “how many hats?” “how many red cars are in this parking lot?” “how many women are here?” It’s interesting how much you register that you don’t even realize and how much you can recall when you are put on the spot.
This first and very obviously teaches my children safety. If something is out of place, it probably should be watched with caution. How would you get out of this building? Is this person a threat? Why is that person so close to us?
In a crowd I have them pick out where we are going and have them lead us. If they make a mistake, we all follow and I let them figure it out. It’s important they figure out to look around and figure out where they are going. What if we were separated? Would they be able to find their way back to our emergency meeting spot (which we pick out each time we are in a big crowd).
I talk to people. I have never had a problem talking to anyone. People tell you the deepest things about them without saying a word sometimes. Ask any magician or a good psychologist and they will tell you mannerisms and tone speak louder than words. I am no master, but I know my fair share of this truth.
I want my children to know if someone is good or if they should stay away from them (especially as children). I want them to be able to choose their friends wisely. If someone is having a hard time, I want my children to have compassion for their situation. At the same time, I know there will be a situation where my children will see someone showing aggressive signs and they can avoid the situation, remove themselves from what could happen, or (if they have to) defend themselves. All because they saw what was coming.
Eventually, this will help them with whatever business they decide to go in. Reading people is a trait that is hard to teach so if you grow up with it, that is a gift. You can tell the office snake, or the guy that has your back because you have already had those experiences and you can see the signs from learning them as a kid.
Understanding your gut is something most of us can do better. I have been burned so many times because I ignored my gut and wanted to give someone the benefit of the doubt. If my children have a “bad feeling” that’s it. The conversation ends there and we leave. I trust them and I want them to trust themselves.
My oldest has a strong instinct. We have had a lot of conversations about her “bad feelings” I ask her if there is anything specific or if we can remove one thing of the situation maybe… I want her to be able to pinpoint the thing that she is uncomfortable with. Sometimes she can, other times is a whole circumstance.
I understand this, I am sensitive too and most of the time, I am correct if I stick around long enough to find out. I have even seen things in the news that confirmed my instinct or had things happen in the future that would have affected the decision I was faced with negatively. The point is, we have a gut instinct for a reason, my children are taught to trust it.
People who are aware are able to do little things to help people. My children’s dad and I were walking to the store one day and I saw a woman pushing her husband in a wheelchair. They were going up a hill and she was ok, but you could tell she was getting tired (if you were aware). Generally, he was very aware of his surroundings but this time he was talking and talking, not paying attention. We were about to pass them and I saw that he was not going to notice how she needed help.
I slowed almost to a stop, I said something like, “Hey, Help her!” He realized how oblivious he was being and was quite taken aback. He slowed to talk to her and ask if he could help push him for her. She of course said that she was ok. He insisted, she allowed him to take the wheelchair. He only pushed the man for maybe a couple blocks and we made some good conversation with the couple as we walked with our baby and them.
It was only a little time for us, who knows what it meant for this lady and her husband. Because we (I) were aware of our surroundings we were able to bless this couple.
Life or Death
Honestly, they probably won’t ever be in a situation that is life or death. These skills could help if they ever were, otherwise, they will just make their lives better. These skills will help them with the little things, like helping someone who just needs a little of their time, or with a big thing, like getting a job they want. It doesn’t take anything extra for them to think about, it’s just a blessing they live with.
Let Them Thrive
Peace and Balance,