Whitney Houston sang “I believe the children are our are future. Teach them well and let them lead the way. Show them all the beauty they possess inside. Give them a sense of pride..”
You might think the song is a bit cheesy or that Whitney Houston wasn’t the best role model out there either. Nevertheless, there’s a poignancy to the words that I think is felt more keenly when we consider the current state of the world, don’t you?
There’s a saying ‘It takes a whole village to raise a child’, which I first heard over 20 years ago and it’s always stuck with me. It’s thought to be an African proverb that means, the whole community is responsible for ensuring children can grow in a safe and healthy environment, including those who don’t have children themselves. The exact attribution is unknown and it’s thought to be derived from similar proverbs in several different African nations. One such being, ‘A child does not grow up only in a single home.’
Simple statements with powerful messages
Statements that convey the responsibility each and every one of us has to ensure we collectively raise children in the best possible environment and in the best possible way. This is regardless of whether we have children ourselves. Even if we’re not parents, we encounter children every day through work, socialising, via family and friends or in everyday activities and chance meetings.
We are all role models
Each and every one of us has a choice about how we engage with children that we meet. Whether we recognise it or not, we are all role models. Children are great observers of what’s going on around them. From an early age they learn to mimic behaviours and phrases, which they can then carry with them for a long time. Just think, how many of us have uttered a sentence in adulthood and immediately afterwards thought ‘I sound like my mother/father’?
We can control the behaviours and words we choose to use around children. We can learn to be the best role models. We can advise, teach, educate, motivate and inspire. We can love, protect, nurture and provide. We can let our children grow up and make their own way in the world, confident that we have role modelled the right behaviours and attributes, so that they can thrive and create the life they want. So that they succeed because of us, not in spite of us. So they’re not clones of us but they’re wonderfully and unapologetically themselves.
Creating the future and leaving a legacy
I’m sure we all want our children or our friends’ children to have good lives.
This goes beyond simply role modelling positive behaviours and language though. It’s also about the future we’re creating for them and the legacy we’ll leave behind.
Remember, the proverb about a whole village raising a child is about everyone helping to bring children up in a safe and healthy environment.
I wonder, can we honestly say hand on heart, that we’re doing that right now?
Even if you have a lovely home, send your children to a good school and nurture them in every possible way, our national and global environment is not exactly a healthy or particularly safe one. This is not just about COVID either, look at the trajectory of humanity these last few decades.
Look around what do you see?
When we take a good look around we can see many issues that make our world unstable. Homelessness, poverty, abuse, addiction, illness, famine, war, crime, injustice, racism, sexism, ageism, homophobia and intolerance for anything that is ‘different’, the list goes on!
If this article is starting to depress you, please forgive me, as that’s not my intention. I simply want us to STOP, take a good look, THINK of ways we can improve things for the next generation and then TAKE ACTION.
I think we’ve (collectively) become so used to living in a ‘nanny state’, believing everything that appears in the media, that we’ve almost forgotten how to think for ourselves. On occasion something may pierce through our consciousness and make us angry, frustrated or sad. It may then be talked about in the living rooms of the land for days or even weeks, yet how often do we actually do anything about it?
Take a stand
Is it time to now stand up and be counted?
Many have become indoctrinated into thinking that we can’t make a difference. However, if everyone around the world who thought that, actually stood together, the numbers would be huge. WE CAN make a difference. I do think we have a responsibility to make a difference now, both for ourselves and for the future of OUR collective children.
We’re living in challenging times. It’s all too easy to be swept along with a mass who haven’t stopped to consider things more broadly and what’s really happening around them. We’re living in a time of change and reckoning. Almost overnight we lost significant freedoms and we can now be monitored through an app. Think about it, this would have been unthinkable even 10 years ago. Public opinion is split between those who think the track and trace app is a good thing, that will help keep us all safe and those who think otherwise, that it’s designed to limit our freedom.
What else can we do for a change?
Whatever your views, it’s impossible not to think about how our children are being affected.
What can we do now to ensure children being raised in a healthy and safe environment?
What can we do to leave a behind a positive legacy?
In NLP, we always bring the questions back to the importance and benefit of knowing yourself, your values, your beliefs and desires. In coaching and training we work with you to connect you back to your deepest self, to your unconscious mind. In this way you can work out what’s important to you and what you truly want in life. We can then work with you so you have the confidence to express your views, to stand up for what you believe in and take action to achieve your goals.
The world is changing beyond recognition. What do you want to leave as a legacy?
Do you want to help shape the future or do you want to be carried along by others? If it’s the first, then please get in touch to find out how NLP can help you to be true to yourself and to create a positive legacy.