How safe is your home?
No . . . not how physically safe is your home. I figure most of us do a pretty good job with safety latches on our drawers, bike helmets available in our garages, and chemicals out of the way in the laundry room.
No . . . I mean how emotionally safe is your home?
Is your home the kind of place where your kids can make mistakes? Can they mess up and still know that you love them?
Can they try and it’s good enough . . . or do they always have to go back and straighten the covers or fix every math problem until it’s right?
Do you ask open-ended questions that leave room for their opinion, or do you always have the right answer?
Can they respectfully disagree with you?
Are they allowed to have a bad day?
Is taking a risk worth the consequences, even if it means your new toaster is in pieces on your kitchen counter?
What happens when they fail?
Do you apologize when you make a mistake?
How safe is your home?
How would you have handled this “creative” exploration? (These aren’t my kids . . . so it’s easy to laugh!) I’d like to believe that my answer would be the “right” one . . . but it would depend on the day.
If you want to inspire others, including your kids, they have to trust you. They can’t trust you if they don’t feel safe. When someone doesn’t feel safe, they spend their emotional energy protecting themselves from getting hurt. That means they can’t spend their emotional energy on discovering, exploring, or creating. They can’t spent their time learning.
I’ve found that when the relationship with one of my kids is on the rocks, our “learning” time is a disaster. I’m kind of dense, so it usually takes a few days for me to make the connection. During this time, I try really hard to make things “fun,” and I always meet with disastrous results. No amount of games, rewards, or outings can compensate for an unstable relationship.
But then I find myself balking at a detour from learning because it feels like we’ll be standing still (or worse . . . going backwards!). What about this great book I want to share with them? What if we don’t have time to finish these history lessons before the next activity?
But I never end up regretting the energy and time I put into working on the relationship. Inevitably, the learning that takes place following the detour is richer and more accelerated.
So, what do you think?
Is your home safe?