“I bit my 3DS [Nintendo] because I was so mad [at] losing. I should not do that because it may give me germs. I could have lost it for good. They [mom and dad] should give it back to me because I’ve done a lot of good things. I found my mom’s [diamond] earring. I’m always good in school. I always get good grades.
I learned my lesson. I could have been grounded. My dad and mom don’t have to give it back to me. Mom tells me to be happy because she says [a lot of] kids don’t have the stuff like our place. They don’t have the money to buy toys, computers, food, bathroom, [a] Kindle, [Sony] DS, movies, TV’s, [a] pool, beds, fireplace, playground, clothes, [a] backyard or rooms, so I should make myself lucky since I have my DS.
I’m happy because I have a dog; I have toys, a sister, a mom and dad, a[n] uncle, a grand mom, a 3DS….”
This is a large part of an essay that my 9-year-old son wrote. He broke his 3DS about two months after he received it as a birthday present. Three months went by before my investigative nature discovered why his Kindle Fire was being used more for games and less for reading.
He’d done wrong. He knew that his actions were wrong.
So he hid his actions from mom and dad.
Although his game was replaced by the manufacturer, we did not give it right back to him. He needed to understand the severity of his actions.
To help my children think about their actions and behaviors, one strategy is to require them to write. They must write essays about the lessons that they learned from making poor choices and better ways to handle similar situations.
Writing an essay is productive. More productive than some of the consequences that I endured as a child. Writing involves being still, being quiet, and constructive thought time. Every child and adult can benefit from the process. To clear my mind, I often write.
After he wrote the essay, I wanted to know more from my son about his potential actions when playing his game in the future. So I asked him, what will he do the next time that he gets frustrated or “mad” because the game is beating him. In a slow and deliberate manner he said,
“I’m going to take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Calm down and try again. That’s what I did to beat Super Mario 3D Land.”
Where does the “deep breath” come from? On and off (more off lately, but we’ll get back on track over the summer) from meditation.
Meditation is good for everyone, including kids. If you recognize that you feel stress– you make a conscious decision to address it constructively. Meditation is a positive way to relieve stress and to refocus. Best of all, you can meditate anywhere.
While his essay may not be written grammatically perfect, neither are some of my writings without consistent and precise editing. Another day he will put on his teacher’s hat and edit his work.
The idea isn’t for him to write a perfect essay. The point is to teach him to think about his actions, choices, and understand that consequences are the result of his choices. Children grow up to become adults. As adults we must also face consequences; some good some not so good. Either way, if we can help our children to understand the connection between the two at a young age, they should grow up to make smarter choices. Making smarter choices doesn’t equate to a perfect life, but it can definitely make life more fulfilling.
|“I’m fulfilled in what I do… I never thought that a lot of money or fine clothes — the finer things of life — would make you happy. My concept of happiness is to be filled in a spiritual sense.”|
|Coretta Scott King|