People blame television, video games, feminism, religion, lack of religion, social media, and technology. With a resounding voice society asks: What is happening to our children?
Yes, society has changed, but I think the real issue is that we’ve lost sight of what our children need.
Here are my thoughts on what today’s children really need.
Children need meaningful connections with family
Parents have so many demands. Work, stress, and bills place a lot of pressure on the family unit. However, children need to spend quality, connected time with their families. Board games, picnics, walks, talks, cuddles, and romps at the park… these are what make for strong bonds and build precious memories.
Children need time to play
We see the occasional quote about the value of play. We hear studies about how play helps children learn, grow, and develop; yet play is often compromised for activities such as organized sports, music lessons, tutoring, and homework.
We need to provide opportunities for our children to build, to dress up, to imagine, to dream, and explore.
Children need exercise
Children need to move. They need to run, skip, hop, and tumble. Children need opportunities to use their bodies and exert energy.
Children need to feel they are part of the community
Children are a part of our society from the moment they are born. Yet for some reason, many people don’t treat them as such until they’re in their mid to late teens. Kids need to feel like they are an part of their community.
Walks in the neighbourhood, participation in community events, lemonade stands, and saying hello to the neighbours on the street helps children build connections in their community.
Children need opportunities to contribute in a meaningful way to society
How can we possibly expect children to care about anything but themselves if we don’t give them opportunities to contribute to various causes? Within their own neighbourhoods children can assist with community projects, litter pick-up, shovel neighbours’ sidewalks, and tend community gardens.
Children need time to talk and time to listen
Deep, meaningful conversation is so important for our children. They have a voice, they have thoughts, and they have opinions. We, as adults, need to give them opportunities to exercise their voice. We need to listen to what children say. We need to let them know that their voice is important and valued. We also need to educate them about the power of their voice and how to use it responsibly.
We also need to teach our children how to listen, comprehend, and decipher the information they receive. Many messages are shared with our children on a daily basis. We need to ensure they have the ability to filter through what they hear and assist them in discerning what is of value.
Children need to know God
I am a Christian. My heart and soul longs for God. While many may argue that children don’t need to know God, I disagree. I don’t believe we have just a body and a mind; I also believe that we have a soul which thirsts to know our heavenly Father.
Our children need spiritual purpose. When I talk about spirituality, I’m not talking religion. I’m not talking about dragging them to church just because that’s what they’re supposed to do. What I’m talking about is loving a relationship with God. Our children need to seek, rest, live, and love with a purpose greater than this world and greater than themselves. Our children need eternal purpose.
Children need guidance and direction
Our kids need to know limits and boundaries. They need to understand that there are layers of rules that extend beyond their homes. They need to know, recognize and understand that rules are critical to the functioning of their schools, communities, and the world. Our children need guidance and direction so that they understand these rules and why these rules exist.
Children need balance
Busyness and rest, activity and peace… kids need to learn how to find balance in their lives. We need to help children strike a balance, which can be challenging for the busy parent to do. How can we help our children strike a balance when we, ourselves are imbalanced?
Children need love
I know it seems obvious but our children need love. If we demonstrate our affection, tell them with our words and our actions, our children will feel loved. It is from that love that they will continue to blossom into the people they are becoming.
Children are becoming
Children are individuals. They are growing. They are becoming. What they become rests in our hands.
Sometimes I come across an article that stirs my mind and resonates within me. This post was inspired by a deeply reflective post by Janine over at Confessions of a Mommyholic. Thank you Janine for inspiring me to share my thoughts on what our children need.