Grateful Parenting Pilot Article

Grateful Parenting

By Roxi Nevin

I’d like to welcome you to my first Grateful Parenting blog article and give you a bit of background of how this series came to be. I am a mom to 5 biological children, and a few “adopted” children who grace me with that title, mostly because they spend a great deal of time at my home, and they’re treated just like my own children. I’ve long been an advocate of the idea that “it takes a village” and my love for all children, in general, has driven me to treat all children in my presence as if they were my own. I adore kids. I think they are always a treasure to protect and nurture. I remember my mother telling a story of my childhood that really shows that this is just an aspect of my personality that has always been there. I was five years old, and I asked my grandmother if you had to be married to have a baby. My grandmother laughed and said “Well, it’s not physically necessary, but it is ideal, why?” and I said, “Because I want LOTS of babies, but I don’t think I want to get married”.

I grew up with a large household of kids, of which I was the oldest. Aside from my siblings, some of our cousins lived with us as well. I took the title and responsibility of ‘older sister’ very seriously. I was the natural choice when the neighborhood parents needed a sitter. So, I spent a great majority of my life taking care of kids. Kids are also naturally drawn to me, and I believe it’s because they can feel how much I adore them compared to many adults. They seem to understand how I truly see them for what they’re worth, and how I include them in my interactions, whereas many adults have a habit of keeping kids busy and overlooking them. Children are much more intelligent and thoughtful than general society gives them credit for. They don’t know how to express that well, but their thought processes are extremely complicated and far more reasonable than we’ve been led to believe. And their future is greatly determined by their childhood experiences and education. As a mom, I’ve been known to be somewhat “free-range”. I believe in child led learning. Kids are great at knowing what they want, and what interests them, and if you give them the opportunity to show you what they’re capable of, they’ll surprise you every time.

I consider myself a peaceful parent, and I try to give my own kids choices in every aspect of their lives that it is possible. I attempt to guide them in the right direction, and teach them the right way, but allow them the freedom to make choices that will later teach them the capability of making good decisions as an adult. Children are loud, they are messy, and they like to explore. I like to give them all the potential opportunities to be kids that they can get.   Some very strict parents who believe that kids are property sometimes view this as being too lenient. But I try to remind people that I’m not trying to raise good kids, I’m trying to raise good adults. Adults who will make good choices because they’ve been taught how. Upstanding members of society who choose to do the right thing because they want to do the right thing, not because they’re afraid of the outcome. Now of course I want my children to behave, but there are natural consequences for our actions, and kids need to learn how to navigate through life with that understanding, not base all their choices on what someone else wants or asks them to do.

When I became aware of Grateful Leadership, it wasn’t long after that I found Judy’s other book, “You’re Totally Awesome: The Power of Acknowledgment for Kids”. And, all the messages within Judy’s three books are the very epitome of what I want my kids to encompass in their adult lives. I was so very excited to be involved with something so great, something that had a real chance to impact our future as a whole. Gratitude, and acknowledgment are some of the founding principles of doing the right thing. Teaching your kids to both have gratitude in their lives and acknowledge the people we interact with will have a significant impact in how they form their ideas and opinions throughout life. It is the seed that eventually causes the fruit to grow. Through this blog series, I will relay stories and examples of how I teach my own children to embrace gratitude and acknowledge those around us. Stories about our trials through parenthood in teaching our kids how to behave, as well as to feel and express their gratitude and appreciation toward others. I hope our experiences help motivate other parents to guide their parenting decisions with gratitude.

Roxi Nevin is a digital media coordinator and On-Demand content specialist at International Institute for Learning where she has worked for six years, as well as the Digital media administrator for the Center for Grateful Leadership. She has been a freelance writer since her teenage years and is currently writing her first novel. She has five children, many of which she has homeschooled, and is an advocate of the “Peaceful Parenting” method. She is also an outspoken autism awareness activist, as she is not only the parent of children with autism but is also on the spectrum herself. She has embraced the Grateful Leadership message as a lifestyle and has seen major improvements in both herself and her family using the methods taught within the Center for Grateful Leadership.