Children seem to absorb much of our behavior; both explicit and implicit. I often preach to them about the really significant basic things like teeth-brushing, seat belts, not talking to strangers, minding your manners and sharing.
What we don’t overtly discuss at the dinner table are controversial topics such as abortion, gay rights/same-sex marriage, Central American politics and sexual impotence. They are still too young to engage in heated dinnertime debates.
Between me and my husband we DO dialogue all day and night about the MOST contentious political, medical and philosophical matters. We both just love to declare our positions to one another as if we were important analysts receiving a big salary for doing so. Our children "infer" where we stand as individuals and as a couple on most issues by our words and our deeds. How much this influences their actual priorities and belief system is tough to measure.
However, kids are constantly reacting on some metaphysical level to all "vibes" floating about in a home’s atmosphere. If there is love and tranquility, that usually manifests in the child’s behavior. The same theory applies for negative influences such as antagonism and violence. What else matters more to a child’s upbringing than the home environment?
Here´s an example: our family has moved eight times in the last ten years between three different countries. Each time we change residences, whatever the reason may be, we create an "aura" of enthusiastic optimistism knowing that each move will open new horizons. I know, it sounds so trite and corny, but I am serious. More conventional-minded parents may condemn us for not providing adequate "residential STABILITY" for our children, but I beg to differ.
Our motto as a family is that home is REALLY wherever we are. And as long as we are all together, the geographic location is secondary. We welcome new adventures; the element of change excites us. This is not to say that we don’t PREFER one thing over another; simply that as long as we maintain our options open and stay in "stand-by mode," new opportunities will continue to pour in from all directions. And they have.
So now we are living in Hollywood, Florida. We have a very comfortable and convenient lifestyle. Our next door neighbors are my parents and the kids´ schools are five minutes away. It is wonderful and there are no complaints. However, my husband is currently in his native Costa Rica starting up a business. He will need to spend a great deal of time there for it to really take off. My three oldest children, ages 8, 6, and 5 are well aware of the situation.
Just last week my eldest daughter was reviewing her birthday sleepover list and excitedly told me how many good friends she has at school and how hard it was to choose between them. For a brief moment I doubted her ability to be flexible considering our precarious living situation.
“If I have to rip this child from her flourishing social life and scholastic surroundings again, she may really rebel and be disturbed,” I mumbled under my breath to no one in particular and blew it off.
The other day I approached her and asked if she wanted to participate in the school Science Fair as it was deadline to decide.
She said, "No, Mommy because I havn´t prepared anything."
"Perhaps next year with more anticipation and planning," I advised.
"Well Mommy, maybe next year we will be in a new house and a new school or somewhere living in Costa Rica so it´s too soon to plan," she replied.
At that instant,my heart was overflowing with joy and a huge grin crawled across my lips. It dawned on me that she had inherited my love for adventure and already at age 8 and full of self confidence, was truly FEARLESS.