"Don't grab," I said as I grabbed something one of my kids had just grabbed from another. One day I noticed the irony, the ridiculousness, and the ineffectiveness of what I was doing.
With some pondering, I came to the understanding that when my kids behaved poorly, I thought that reflected poorly on my parenting skills, so I was trying to teach them in the hopes that I would look good as a parent. Ugh. There is another way to parent, and that is: gaining a deeper understanding of what our kids are doing and why.
Kids grab - mine is their favourite ('mine' is our favourite, too). Establishing a 'me' and then a 'me first' and finally a 'me is all that matters') is the natural progression of ego. Skip the next two sentences unless you'd love to know about what ego is. Ego is mind unattended: our lower nature's operating system: no deep pondering of our existence. We also have within us, a higher nature, and that's meant to be a human being's operating system and it's without ego. That system doesn't know what grabbing is.
On the surface of this grabbing problem, we solve it by asking kids to 'use their words' and 'wait for their turn'. On a deeper level, it comes from and fosters 'mine'. 'Mine' turns into aggression and unhappiness because anything we do acquire for this voracious 'mine' will never cause happiness, long-term, but it will cause aggression in us in an attempt to obtain 'it'. Life becomes one big grab after another.
In the moment a child grabs: recognize that them grabbing doesn't make you a bad parent. It is a learning opportunity. What they learn will depend on what you teach (do).
The opposite of grabbing (mine) is giving (ours). Pure giving, when our fellow man is in need, without concern for ourselves is like rocket fuel for the soul, and it's natural to us.
When kids are little, you can help them learn to give by inviting them to serve others at meals. There is nothing more cute than a toddler giving out food - they often help you by putting it right in your mouth for you! Giving is natural to our True Nature. When they are older, take them to a soup kitchen and let them volunteer, or let them help an elder in need. Think of ways you can teach your young children about giving in your household and in your community. When you do, post the ideas and your experience on our Facebook page.
The other lesson grabbing teaches is this: waiting is not in the vocabulary. Waiting is not only possible, but has it's own hidden gifts.
When kids learn to wait Creation whispers their life pathway in their ears! They get really good ideas that serve themselves and others. The same happens for us, but we can only teach that to our kids once we've learned it for ourselves. That means, sit quietly and wait, without expectation and see what happens. You can use this technique to ask any question or to just wait for your own personal life curriculum to be shown to you.
We don’t learn most things the first time, we need to practice. Help your kids practice waiting and stillness, and teach them giving by doing it yourself and as a family event.