Not long ago, we released a book titled Intentional Parenting. It’s full of stories of some of the wise, responsive, intentional parents we’ve had the opportunity to sit with over the years.
In the book, we introduce a concept called learning through observation - how we can pay attention to the words and actions of people around us. For example, if we see coverage in a publication or the daily news that highlights an individual acting courageously (or foolishly). What can we take away from their experience? Sometimes it’s a friend or classmate of one of our kids who makes a daring or destructive decision. How can we learn from that?
Recently, I heard a story about an intentional mom in our community. She took her young children to the mall to meet Santa Claus and have their photo taken with him. She established her place in line amidst the masses and then heard her son say “Mommy, why is that woman wearing her bathing suit in the winter?”
She looked ahead at the full scale window advertisement on display at Victoria’s Secret. The following image was staring them down.
This image was available to all the children and parents waiting patiently in line to meet Santa Claus at our local mall. The mom did her best to answer her son’s bathing suit question and then redirect her kids’ attention to something else. Later that night (after she’d had some time to collect her thoughts), she called the Victoria’s Secret store to file a complaint. She was informed she’d need to talk to the District Manager in charge of advertising. They were willing to pass on the mom’s number to the District Manager.
Not knowing if she’d get a return call or not, she elected to contact the General Manager of the Mall. One of the things I respect about this mom was not only the desire to see this mission through, but wanting to pay close attention to her delivery. She wanted her concern to come less from a place of anger and more from a place of concern . . . saying “surely we’re all on the same page in wanting to be careful what’s on full display as kids and teenagers are passing by storefronts, and particularly as young children and their parents are standing for long periods of time to meet Santa Claus.”
I appreciate not only her words, but the spirit in which she spoke them. We talk throughout Intentional Parenting about what it looks like to respond rather than react. Our kids are learning through observation every time they witness us having the opportunity to navigate conflict.
What are you modeling at this point and time?
What would you like to model less of and what do you hope your kids could see more of?