When my son was a few years old, I walked into my bedroom a few minutes after I had just cleaned it to find him tearing the room apart. Instead of reacting, something compelled me to ask him what he was doing. He looked at me a bit perplexed at the fact that I couldn’t tell, then proceeded to explained that he was building a slide. It took only a moment but I saw that indeed he was building a slide
A few weeks ago, I had a huge falling out with my 13 year old son, which happens every now and then. Upon reflection, I realized that I was clearly out of order. What struck me later was how quickly we both recovered, made up and moved on. Most importantly, my son was very forgiving. This incident made me think about the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey. In one of the chapters, Covey writes about the emotional bank account.
According to Covey, an emotional bank account is a metaphor for the amount of trust that has been built up in a relationship. One of the key foundations of a strong relationship is trust. In order to build trust one must continually make deposits of honesty, kindness, unconditional love, patience, all of those essential virtues that strengthen any relationship. In doing so, we build large reserves in the emotional bank account. When we form habits like cutting children off, being reactive, dishonest, or disrespectful, our child’s “bank” runs dry. The result is that often, when they are teenagers, there is very little room for communication and trust.
The action of making deposits begins at birth and continues throughout life. I made a withdrawal from the emotional bank account last week, but I feel we both recovered easily because of the reserve in the account. We often make mistakes when parenting our children, but if there is a large reserve, we can overcome them together and with greater ease. Lately with my work schedule picking up, I’ve made more mistakes in the parenting department than usual and I am so grateful for my children (and husband) and for their patience, flexibility and willingness to forgive.
Here are just a few ways to make deposits in the emotional bank account:
- Love unconditionally, with no strings attached.
- Truly understand the individual by sharpening your listening skills.
- Keep your promises and commitments.
- Show integrity in everything you do–your actions speak louder than words.
- Apologize when you make mistakes.
- Pay attention to the little things that may mean little to you but the world to them.
- Spend a lot time together, especially while they are young and want to be around you.
I highly recommend the book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The chapter on emotional bank accounts is a lot more detailed than my short reflection.
What are some of the ways you make deposits into your child’s emotional bank account? Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
“O ye loving mothers, know ye that in God’s sight, the best of all ways to worship Him is to educate the children and train them in all the perfections of humankind; and no nobler deed than this can be imagined”. –Baha’u’llah
I have been blessed with two beautiful souls whom I am honored to call my children. They are loving, smart, adventurous, and very silly individuals who are a constant source of inspiration. Today on Mother’s Day as I reflect on the gift of accompanying them on their journey through life, it warms my soul!
“Children are the most precious treasure a community can possess, for in them are the promise and guarantee of the future. They bear the seeds of the character of future society which is largely shaped by what the adults constituting the community do or fail to do with respect to children.” The Universal House of Justice of the Baha’is of the World, 2000.
I love this quote! It has inspired some of the best learning experiences with my children.
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” Mahatma Gandhi
Service is giving to others; considering other people’s needs as important as your own. Service involves anticipating the needs of others and thinking of ways to serve them–helping people just because we care and for no other reason. Performing a job with the spirit of service can elevate the most mundane of jobs into a rewarding experience.
When my children ask questions, I am pretty good at keeping things simple. But when it comes to “important life questions,” I sometimes forget to keep things simple.
ADHD, PDD, ASD–Mental health labels are used to describe a growing number of disorders. Are labels holding children back?
I recently went into a classroom to work with one of my students. I asked him to perform a task and he responded with, “I have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder); I can’t focus.” My response was, “ADHD? Sounds like a bunch of letters to me.” He smiled, relaxed, and performed the series of tasks quite well. We had a pretty good session.
I seldom have the opportunity to watch the news, but yesterday I happened to go to the gym to jog on the treadmill. The treadmills are set up in a way that forces you to face the lineup of TV screens. Although I could not hear any of it, I was able to clearly read the headlines.
The choices were: crime and violence, some form of criticism, sitcoms depicting people engaging in inappropriate behaviors, and advertisements encouraging us to shop and or medicate ourselves. Is it any wonder that so many of us are walking around anxious and depressed?
So I thought–or rather hoped, what if…
Do you ever find yourself barking out orders at the end of the day before you have had time to settle in? Some days, I return home from work and immediately start in: “Have you practiced your music lessons, finished your homework, emptied the dishwasher, put away the clothes?” and on and on goes the list. Sometimes, I catch myself doing it first thing in the morning. Yikes!
As our lives and schedules get busier, I sometimes forget to take that moment, check in with my family, ask how their day went, and give them hugs. I’m working on it.
“Life is a sacred and spiritual journey; we are sacred and spiritual beings and can choose to embrace the perspective of parenting from a sacred place of our spirituality — the heart. Despite our religious or cultural preferences, spiritual parenting is about parenting with compassion and a giving heart.” – Shristi
Children have a way of holding the mirror up and revealing our most glaring imperfections. My children teach me how to be a better person. I often state that children are given to us to help us develop virtues (love, compassion, patience, humility, flexibility, and much more).