by Margaret Evans, Director of Lifespan Learning

Involvement with youth and children on a deep level, whether parenting, fostering, or mentoring, has both its joys and also its frustrations. If I have spent time planning a spiritual learning opportunity for the children and it is not being received the way I had hoped, I feel myself getting frustrated.

I imagine that parenting is full of extremely challenging and patience–pushing moments on any given day. Anger is a tricky emotion to express around children. They need exposure to it to understand how their behaviours can inflict pain on others, and yet too much anger can lead a child to believe they are unloved. What is the right amount of anger?

The question of which little things to let go of in parenting or mentoring is a huge question and I won’t even begin to answer it; but I do wonder if we can find a moment to pause in every day. Utilize the silence for a second and ask yourself, “Will this matter in one year, two years or even five years time?” If your answer is no, perhaps it is time to let it go.

Practice this with your family. Without trivializing their emotions, ask them when they are frustrated over not having what they want, how much that toy or candy will matter a year from now.

 

Together, watch the Disney movie Toy Story in which the toys are faced with the dilemma of moving houses with their owner. Talk together about the things that the toys were worried about that didn’t matter in the end. Ask them what Andy, the little boy, had to let go of.