I actually began blogging around this time of year, almost a decade ago when I had a harder time than I expected dealing with my empty nest. It blind-sided me so much that I felt as if I was slowly drowning in a montage of feelings I didn’t understand. I mean, I’d gone through all of the firsts. Leaving  both of my babies on their first day of school and all of the milestones that came after.  Before I experienced it, I’d read a few articles about empty nest syndromes and kind of felt a little judgie when I read about how immobilized some of these parents found themselves and surprised that it was both mother’s and fathers.

I think that in reading the stories of other people’s experiences, I realized that it helped to know that others felt the same way and to learn how they dealt with things. And as I began to find my own ground again, I realized that sharing our hearts in several different circumstances  really helped. And so I began writing about “LIFE” and in turn, started getting messages from people I’d never met, thanking me for making them not feel so alone. I figured that if I could help one person feel better about what they were going through, I would share my stories. I tried several different forums before I landed here on WordPress and when I created this blog, I totally felt at home, almost as if the readers and writers that found their way to my doorstep were like a little family.

I have written about love and heartbreak, faith and depression, appreciation and kids, friends and family, life and death, living in the past, pushing forward to the future, disappointments and blessings and today because it is this time of year that prompted me to start writing, I wanted to write to the parents as they send their kids off to school. There is a saying that I have grown to love:

Teach your sons to be gentlemen and your daughters to accept nothing less.

hugging kids

As a parent of adult children I have really reflected on what this means. Some of us feel that they have succeeded at this, some of us feel that we have failed. Some of us feel that we may have gotten it right with one or a couple of our kids and have a hard time understanding what happened to the other (s). Today I would like to encourage the young moms with kids just starting out and starting new years to really talk to their kids about kindness. Because it really does start at home.

When my daughter was in first grade at a Christian School. The program was amazing. I shake my head at how amazing. The Director of her pre-school and the Principal of her Elementary school as well as staff and some of the moms are still my good friends. Life changing friends. I love them. I think that we were all praying moms with a strong faith and yet, I watched the clicks and the gossiping among the little girls and realized that though we needed to set them free as moms, we also needed to guide and teach them to pray for things together.

It  touched my heart when we moved and my daughter came home from her first day of 4th grade in a public school and said in a horrified voice. “Mom, they DON’T even pray before they eat!”  It brings tears to my eyes now because I liked it when she was protected in that sweet little cocoon at Harbor Church School. But I knew that even there, Though the staff watched out for it as much as they could… there were little bullies. And no matter what, we can’t protect our kids from them.

But we can teach them to be kind and aware. To not judge because someone is not like them or doesn’t have the same clothes or backpacks or whatever the differences are. If they see someone sitting alone or hear someone else not being nice, to try to invite that person to be part of their group. I think we need to teach our kids at a very early age, that it is not okay to leave someone out, or laugh at them or to talk about someone or make fun of them. We need to get to know their stories and where they come from. To look out for the underdogs and be their hero. You never know whose life you may change by being kind.

If every parent and every teacher would make a point of teaching our kids why bullying is wrong. And encouraging their acts of KINDNESS and making it a fun project in every elementary school, just think how different the world would be if the adults took the responsibility of the kids and taught them the true golden rule. Because you know, in the end… Bullies grow up to either be angry adults or gentlemen.

8 thoughts on “It Really Does Start At Home

    1. Hi Arlene!
      Yes for me, it was. I wasn’t ready for how much adjusting I actually had to do. That was almost a decade ago so I have adjusted quite well to having a kidless home now. Though I love it when they come to visit! And look forward to my Wednesdays with Sophia which has become a new thing with my 4 year old granddaughter who I am in love with!
      God has definitely provided all the stages of life for us to enjoy if we just stop to find the joy!

  1. It is refreshing knowing there are people who still believe in the power of prayer and parenting. I was a victim of bullies. I just published my book last month. “She Is My Hero” I talk about how my mother helped me to overcome bullies. It’s interesting because my parent came from two very different upbringings. My father was an abandoned child, my mother on the other hand, lost her mom at age 10 and by age 13 she was orphan, but surrounded by the love of her brothers and sisters. Their starting was not the best, but they managed to raise a family of 8, with values, character and honesty. Not excuses. When parents are doing their job, their children won’t be the bullies at school.

    Many things have changed. In my generation we were not able to talk back to our parents and if we got in trouble at school we got in trouble at home. Period! Today, we have become a screamer , rebellious and violent society. Children feel entitle to about everything. To make it worse, most children know more technology than parents and that is a huge disadvantage: lots of people under the same roof who know nothing about each other. If I have to give a modern definition of faith, I say… faith is raising children these days.

  2. Great advice, Diane. I wish we would have had this wisdom years ago. We did have an empty nest for a year, but then my father-in-law passed away and my mother-in-law moved in with us.

    1. I think I remember you telling me that Bill. You are too funny! lol.
      Yeah, aint it funny how wise we get after the fact?! Argh…. Oh well, hopefully somebody else GETS it and really tries to have a conversation with their kids about the importance of being kind.
      I wish that someday every school would have a program that would begin conversations about it! Thank you for always being my friend. I bet we would have been good friends in school! 🙂

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