Two Syllables

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You Do You Boo…

I talk to Bella every day about her day, what she did, what she enjoyed, what she felt about certain situations. It is always such a fascinating look inside her world, into her perspectives and values. Talking openly with our children about the seemingly mundane can lead to some big conversations, those ones where you suddenly realise you are in the midst of a teaching moment, and you better do it justice. And so it was with my after-school chat with my girl the other day…

Bella told me about a new girl at school, and then she announced that she didn’t like her. I was a little taken aback as Bella doesn’t usually dislike other kids straight away, so I decided to question her motives. Turns out the new girl has some habits that Bella does not deem acceptable. Apparently she likes to clean her mouth by licking her hands and wiping her spit on her face. Bella was not a fan. And with that, decided that this girl was not worth liking.

So I could have agreed with her, I could have glossed over the subject, or I could have even disagreed with her but left it at that. But for some reason, I felt that I could use this seemingly trivial situation as a teaching moment for a wider world view.

Every time I look at Face Book, the news, or even talk to a friend, I am overwhelmed by where our world is at. I don’t think it’s anything new to be honest; I think that social media is just highlighting an already existing crisis. Regardless of that though, you can’t help but be horrified at the way people are treating each other. Fear, greed, prejudice and rage seem to be the go-to feelings when people interact with one another. Hate bounces from our screens as we share articles and videos, or debate opinions, and that is if people are brave enough to even enter the conversation. There are those that hold it in, too scared or engulfed in anger to actually even comment. It is terrifying.

So in the midst of all of this, how do we raise our little people to be good, to be kind, to show love and empathy and loyalty to others? They witness our fears and prejudices, they see our sadness, they absorb our rage. In a world like this, how do we parent?!

I have a group of very close girlfriends *the beauties in the cover photo of this post* and we call ourselves the Mermaids (I feel like there should be some long and exciting story behind this name, but it is merely due to Bella’s obsession with these mythical creatures and us needing a name for our WhatsApp group). The four of us met at work so have been pretty much together all day every day for years now. A few months ago, I arrived in the staffroom, and two of the Mermaids were laughing at each others’ life choices from the previous weekend. I don’t know what they were talking about, but as I sat down, I heard my one friend say to the other “that’s hilarious, I would never do that, but you do you Boo”. And that was it.

You. Do. You. Boo.

I just love that! This statement has been around for ages now, but I’d never heard it in the context of two friends disagreeing but just carrying on with it. Imagine if, in the face of everyone else’s life choices, we just smiled and said “you do you Boo”. No fierce opinion of ‘my way is better’, or ‘I am right and you are wrong’. Just a simple acceptance of difference. An acceptance that we are all doing the best we can. An acceptance that each and every person is free to make their own choices, their own mistakes, love who they want to, live how they want to. And it made me think, wouldn’t that be a good value to teach our children?

So when Bella explained her feelings about the new girl at school, I explained the concept of ‘you do you Boo’. I told her that although she may not agree with how someone lives their life, that it is their life to live, and they get to choose how they do it. We spoke about giving people a chance, even if they do things differently to us, and about accepting people for who they are. And we laughed at how silly ‘you do you Boo’ sounds, but agreed that it was a better way of dealing with other people, so that we don’t throw away friendships just because of a difference in opinion.

So to all of you living your best lives… You do you Boo!

Xxx

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