We have come along way since the days when the kindergarten nativity was acted out to an empty room as no parent ever attended it. Since starting Parents School, a monthly meeting of parents with children in our projects, there has been a huge movement in attitude and sense of responsibility. Importantly parents now engage with their children, value their education and health, and aim to be better parents in the future.
Future Changed Report – January – April 2017
On Thursday, 16.02.2017, took place Parent’s School meeting with the main topic – “Information
In the first part of the meeting we’ve presented to the parents some general notions about the human body: the body parts, the skeletal system, muscular system, nervous system, respiratory system, with related organs that contributes to the functioning of the human body. The information were presented in a simple way at their level of understanding using explanatory materials.
In the second part of the meeting, the parents were asked about diseases that they’ve faced in the last period that affected their children. In the winter most of them have their children sick (common cold, influenza, pneumonia, otitis, asthma, and other diseases).
They’ve talked about the symptoms that were manifested while the children were sick (high fever, strong cough, vomiting, diarrhea, pallor, drowsiness, purulent ear discharge in otitis).
We’ explained to them what happens in the body when we catch a cold and the fact that we only see the symptoms, but not the existing infection which is caused by a bacteria or by a virus that enters into our body in different ways. We’ve also explained about the immune system that fights with the “body invaders”, and also about how we can help the immune system in order to fight better for us and about what weakens it.
We talked about:
- the danger of using antibiotics, and when we can and should avoid them (cold/viral infection);
- the foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals (especially vitamin C and zinc) and those foods with antimicrobial effects;
- good hydration when the child has fever;
- the importance of rest and sleep in order for the body to regenerate after it was affected by the disease;
- the elimination of mucus from the nose and throat and also about the therapeutic tea.
In closing we’ve talked about the healthy habits that are recommended to adopt: washing hands frequently, the importance of healthy food, eating slowly and not in front of TV, daily exercise, enough rest, hydration, eating fish that contains Omega3, airing the room etc.
In March 2017, the parents were invited at a meeting with the main topic “Listen to me in order for me to listen to you, understand me in order for me to understand you” (based on the book of Michael Nicholson – “The lost art of listening”).
In order for the relationship between parents and children, and also between husband and wife, to be profound and of quality, active listening and mutual understanding is required. Instead we tend to fill our small amount of time that is left at the end of the day, with electronic devices (images, music, sounds) replacing family discussions between children and parents. The result of such a state of matters is a cold relationship, one day waking up next to a stranger that we used to know.
One parent said “When my children are watching cartoons, I can scream to them, but nobody hears me or takes into consideration what I’m saying; I speak to the walls”. The same thing happens between husbands, when they do different tasks, and do not offer to the other partner their entire attention that is needed to feel, listen and understand in a deep and profound way.
Listening to the other’s problems, thoughts, feelings, joys with all your love and openness makes the other feel validated and appreciated and this creates a space of good-will for all around.
The essence of listening is empathy (that is gained through delaying your own preoccupations and by entering the other’s experience).
Children complain because they feel that they are not listen to by their parents, because the parents do nothing but rebuke them, and they don’t try to see the things as they see.
Listening means to be attentive, to be interested, to care about the one who speak, to appreciate the other and to be connected with him.
Constant interruptions, changing the subject or speaking only about our own problems shows our selfishness and lack of concern for the other and his problems.
The children who are listened to by their parents, do feel valued and appreciated, and it gives them self-esteem to develop their own talents and ideals and to initiate relationships with confidence.
At this moment of discussion a mother confessed us: “When V. came from school he told me about the fact that the children in his class called him a gypsy, laughed of him that he doesn’t have nice clothes, and the parents of the children told him not to sit next to them…”
The fact that that the mother listened to her child, was beside him in that situation, it showed him that she understands and helped him to relieve the pain, validate his feelings of sadness in the face of injustice. Also she took action, talking with child’s teacher and the other parents in order for the discrimination at school to stop (that the poor children need to be accepted in school community, even if their clothes aren’t nice or clean or smelled of food – this was the given reason).
When we feel disappointed, discouraged, unappreciated, humiliated and we don’t tell anyone about these feelings because we don’t know if they will judge us, misunderstand us, laugh about it, – no help will come for us. As a result of this we feel lonely, without purpose or direction. Therefore it’s very important to create a solid relationship with our family based on trust.
Psychological loneliness is the mother of anxiety and the child becomes alienated, insecure, fearful of other persons and unknown situations. Preschool children that have understanding parents that actively listen to them are more involved and feel more comfortable with their peers at kindergarten, they are more capable to make friends and are more happy. They also become good listeners.
We’ve encouraged the parents to become good listeners of their children, spouse and neighbours; to pay special attention to others when they have problems; to start actively listening, show understanding and empathy towards others. This is the only way for their community, that is poor, to become stronger and better.
In 12 April 2017, I presented the parents the topic: “The parent – the universe of the child”
Due to the fact that the parent is the main educator of the child, the main role model, shaping iour in life, through our lecture we wanted to transmit the next ideas to the parents: The main effort of any parent should be to educate his child to become strong, healthy and resistant in the face of evil and suffering. Pain and pleasure are two realities that are part of any person’s life. What is different from a person to another is the way we relate to these. This relation with pain and pleasure define the way in which we will mature as persons. The resistance in the face of pain and evil will make a child strong. A strong human being isn’t only triumphant over evil but also a bearer of joy. The joy isn’t granted, but must be won!
Our native talents must be developed and respected. People have certain skills that must be respected and it is good to learn from them. Children must be taught to do the best they can, but also to know that somewhere in the world are children that can do better.
A disorientated parent that doesn’t get respect and trust from fellow human beings can’t raise a good child. The child will learn from other role models or he can auto-educate, considering his parent as a bad example.
Our children will be ours for the rest of our lives. The child feels loved in direct proportion with the love showed by the parent. If the parent reveals more of himself, the child is happier. Attentive listening is dependent on love – when you love, you listen; if you don’t listen, then you do not love. Those two things are vital for unity and harmony. If a parent makes a mistake, he must not be afraid of admitting it and make amends.
Every person evolves according with what how he lives. The parents are responsible in this way to create a good environment for their children. Also they have to encourage the children to be strong and capable of defeating the evil and the hardships in life (those two exist even if we don’t like it).
The children need God. He puts in us the wish to know Him. When parents don’t have a relationship with God, the children look for different things that will satisfy their need for spiritual life (inventing stories and superstitions or believing in weird stuff: speaking mice, ghosts, unicorns, fairies, wands or other fantastic beings). The freedom is possible only in truth, and the parent’s responsibility is to make The True God known to the children.
After the meeting the feedback from one parent was: “You spoke to our hearts today. Having a child of your own, you speak from experience and with understanding towards us”.
At the meeting were present 22 parents, each one received at the end a food parcel for Easter. They’ve thanked us, wishing us Easter Holiday full of Joy!