January 25, 2016

      New year, new corny day of the week themed posts. From now on, besides telling you a boring list of things we may, or may not have accomplished over the weekend, you'll be experiencing what I am calling "MomDay." Ha- get it? Catchy I am not. (read last sentence in your best Yoda voice). MomDay will be a mess of stories, experiences, and parenting woes through the mind of yours truly. Today's a super laid back post about why I think demonstrating respect to small minds is important. Enjoy and let me know what you think about MomDay.


      Parenting is such a unique job. You're responsible for shaping someone; for essentially turning someone into a person. Words, actions, mannerisms; all to be noticed by the smallest of eyes. The eyes of our future.

     Joshua and I love animals. From the fluffiest kitten to that scaliest snake, our hearts can't say no. We have always known we wanted to raise Pen to love animals. To understand them, but most of all, to respect them. There's this irritating argument people will throw at me when it's summer time and I'm at the zoo. What's supposed to be a simple day at our local zoo makes my blood boil. Children, 4 and up running around, pounding on glass and throwing trash into enclosures. While the half wit parents play on their cell phones and I in awe of their negligence. One argues, "Oh those kids don't know any better." Perhaps this is the case, perhaps their parents just dont care. Whatever that issue may be, it's all resulting in one huge problem. The absence of respect.

      You aren't born with respect, you learn it. You see how your parents react towards others. You develop it from situations which result in being scolded or praised. You learn. Humans are a very complex thing, and in this day and age it is extremely difficult to read someone. To know if someone is simply joking with you or if they're being completely serious. If anything, humans are getting more and more complex socially. Especially with the old meets new age way of life. Can you teach a toddler the how to's when it comes to respecting an adult? Well, yes and no. Besides the obvious "dont hit mom in the face," and "stop pulling dad's hair," you're going to get into this gap period, where these respect lessons have to take a side seat while their little brains further develop. However, there is still a simple way of teaching a small child respect, and it starts with your family pets.

      There's a sense of calmness we've achieved when Pen is around animals. Which really, is almost always. Everyone we know has a cat, a dog, lizards, whatever. Wouldn't you feel better knowing your child was able to interact with them in a respectful manner? Wouldn't you feel better if your child knew the proper way to approach a dog? Knew how to give an uncomfortable cat the space it needs? To be gentle with farm animals? Not to brag, but these are kind of top priority things for Joshua and I as parents. If you can teach a child to practice respect toward animals, you're teaching them a whole new set of skills.

      Studies show children have learned empathy, compassion, just from being around and taking care of animals. The entire process seems so easy doesn't it? That showing an 18 month the proper way to pet a cat, or teaching them that pulling tails is wrong. By creating a mindset for the child that being kind to animals creates positive outcomes not only for the animal, but for the child's mental health. If a child can start small by respecting animals, I can only assume these skills can be applied later in life. That with respect comes a positive environment, and creates positive relationships. Such a small and easy action on the parent's part, right? Why shouldn't all of us start raising respect?

How do you teach your child respect?
Are you an animal lover? 
In what ways would you teach the children of tomorrow respect? 

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