Families Growing Together: Uncovering Hidden Opportunities for Shared Learning

by Margaret Evans, Director of Lifespan Learning

I have heard numerous stories over the years of parents saying or doing something and their little one repeating that action, much to their chagrin. Monkey can see or hear but monkey should not do. Being aware of what you say and how you act around your children and other youth you influence is crucial; we all carry into adulthood the subconscious messages we received as youngsters.

We can be hyper aware of ourselves around others but what about the rest of the world? Trying to give and receive feedback with others on how we or they are perceived is a challenge, especially when the feedback is critical.

Part of learning is being able to appreciate the feedback given to us. There is certainly a kind way to deliver such perceptions, but being able to fully hear what someone is saying in response to our actions or words can add new depths to our understandings of ourselves.

Challenge yourself to ask someone who is not necessarily in your close circle of friends how they perceived you in certain circumstances. Ask them to provide healthy and creative ideas for how you might differently choose to be in similar circumstances in the future.

Check in with people. If you leave a conversation or situation feeling ‘off’, ask someone about it. Questions like, “How was that experience for you? I left feeling a little disheartened/frustrated/ angry. Did my emotions show?” Either there will be a shared emotional experience or the other will not be aware at all; both are opportunities for growth and shared learning.

Movie suggestions for adults:   Dead Poet’s Society
Movie suggestions for children:   Mr. Holland’s Opus


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