Conkers ! Beautiful aren’t they? Every year I eagerly search for those burnished brown jewels of nature and each one is different. Every year I am entranced and enchanted.
There is something about opening that spiky and unwelcoming case to reveal the conker within. No one has seen it, only you. A private and première viewing.
That conker is so full of potential, something small and, when given the right conditions, has the possibility to grow into something magnificent. Something that is firmly grounded with a strong root system, tall, proud and beautiful. It will grow to something that will weather drought and storms, will give shelter and bear fruits.
Our children are like conkers, beautiful, individual and filled with possibility. Given the right conditions they too will grow to be magnificent. Their future selves being shaped by experiences from home and school.
How do we grow strong, grounded and resilient children? They need a bit more than sunlight, water and CO2 .
The adults in their lives are so influential, so we must make sure that we model the behaviours that we want our children to display, show your children your kindness your willingness to learn and try new things. Have a positive approach and be patient, patient with them but also demonstrate at sometimes you have to be patient for change. We have a very instant society now when we expect immediate gratification, but sometimes that is not always going to give us the best result.
Demonstrate the benefits of waiting for better not quicker.
Children need to be encouraged to take responsibility for themselves, for siblings, for their belongings. This will build mental strength. To admit when they are wrong is a strength of character and will ensure that they will self-reflect and hopefully learn and grow. Help your child to get their things ready for school by all means, but they need to take some responsibility too, let them grow up, let them learn. If they leave something at home and you then bring it to them, what is the learning? Answer, Mum and Dad will sort it out for me so I don’t need to.
We all teach our children to say please and thank you, but teaching true gratitude goes deeper. Encouraging them to see the good in other people’s actions, for appreciating the taste of something delicious, the smell of a flower, the stars or a beautiful sunset. All of these acts of thankfulness will boost your child’s mood.
We like to protect our children, they are our most precious possession. But if we over protect and they avoid anything scary they will not develop confidence as well. We need to encourage our children to face their fears and help them to overcome them. Small steps into the unknown, a little bit of hand holding, then a hand on their shoulder and then gentle encouragement until they realise they can do it. Every new situation is like learning to ride a bike without stabilizers. You are those stabilizers.
Mistakes, we all make them. We don’t like making them but we do. They can make us feel awkward, a bit embarrassed sometimes, but they are part of every day. But mistakes are part of the learning process we cannot expect to carry our new skill perfectly straight away. When you were learning to walk, how many times did you fall over? Plenty, as you learned your parameters and got stronger, learning how to do it right and getting better each time. This is the same for every new bit of learning that your child undertakes. They will not be able to do this perfectly first time – if they do, they simply are not learning. We will need to keep that challenge so that children are always moving forward, encourage them when they stumble and encourage them to reflect on how they can make their learning better. That way children will not just understand the process, but the meaning behind it so that they can apply it to their next learning. An essential life skill.
We want your children to grow strong and it is all of our responsibilities to ensure that they have all that they need to grow. So just as the conker needs releasing from its comfy case we must let our children out of their comfort zone. We must bring the sunshine of love, kindness and thankfulness into their lives. We must remember to help them grow their roots by helping them to feel secure in their learning, their mistakes, in their choices and in their every day lives.
I have a school of saplings and together, we will help our children grow and conquer their world.
“People aren’t born strong. People grow stronger little by little, encountering difficult situations, learning not to run from them.”