Today I want to talk about what you want to pass along to your kids. I’m not talking about the stuff, the heirlooms, even though I do talk about your things quite often.
I’m talking about the habits, the message, the state of mind that you pass along to your kids (how they see you act)... the message you are actually sending. I think about this a lot because I have two children who take a lot of their cues from me, just like yours do.
When I talk about the habits you pass along to your kids, I mean the way you treat your things.
We live in this age, where stuff comes into your life constantly. It’s hard to keep up with it. It’s hard to know what to do with it all. But having a hard time parting with the stuff, keeping most of it and continually bringing in more, is a habit, it’s a state of mind. Your children see your every move--which means you are passing that habit along to your children. So it’s no wonder that they have a really hard time parting with their things too--often things that are broken and old, that have outlived their usefulness. We have a habit of keeping way more than we can ever appreciate.
We also have the habit of storing things away for that rainy day. I know I had that habit for most of my life. We like to keep our things, many of us. For sentimental reasons and because we might need them.
My study of Feng Shui taught me years ago, that when your space is too full, there’s not room for new opportunities to come your way. When you keep things (you haven’t used for years) b/c you might just need them.
You are telling your future self that you will not be supported. And that’s the reality that comes your way.
What message are passing along to our kids about stuff? Most of us, pass these messages on daily, without even realizing it.
Almost every kid I know has more toys than he or she knows what to do with. Our actions--by allowing our children’s spaces to be so full (and our spaces to be so full)--we are telling our kids that: Stuff is plentiful and not very valuable. Both true, ironically, this day in age. Or we might teach our kids that “stuff is expensive, you should take really good care of it, along with all 250 of your other toys”. Right--that’s confusing. How can any child, any human being, take care of that much stuff. I mean really take care.
I started thinking about this more thoroughly the first time I read Kim John Payne’s book called Simplicity Parenting--about 5 years ago. Many of you have probably heard of it, or read it or seen him talk. He is incredibly inspirational--don’t miss your chance to see him should it arise.
He has done a lot of research on kids of all ages. Turns out, it’s really stressful for kids (and for grownups I would argue, but especially for kids) to live in an environment that is too full, with all of the latest toys that vie for their attention.
They don’t have control over their spaces. They will ask you for all the latest greatest toys that their friends have, but you are the one who has control over their space. Those toys, they are designed to make your child notice them--in the store, in an ad, at their friend’s houses. They are bright, obnoxious, colorful, loud. All of those factors, that makes your kid want those things, in the moment, are the reason their rooms are stressful to them.
So stressful in fact, that Kim John Payne realized that kids, in normal, middle class homes, are expressing signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Except the trauma is not in the past, it is every day, in their environment.
Now I don’t mean to be a downer, but it is important to be aware of the messages we are sending our children by filling our spaces, and their spaces, up with too much stuff.
Now what about your state of mind, what messages do you send your kids due to the state of mind you are in.
For me, my biggest parenting challenge is patience. I come from a long line of firey, determined, stubborn people--god bless them. My first instinct, both learned and innate is to react. I’m sure a lot of you out there feel the same way.
My husband, from before we even began dating, was known for his pause… the time he would take to consider the appropriate response before responding. That is a trait I have been working on acquiring for a long time. It doesn’t come naturally to me, like it does to him.
It’s hard to have patience when you get home after a long day and the house is overwhelming, you’re exhausted, and you’ve gotta figure out how and what to put on the table for dinner in an hour. Right?
And so I would ask you, is your stuff really making you happy? It’s a question that didn’t even occur to me for much of my adult life.
When your stuff is negatively impacting your state of mind, your ability to be patient with your family, with your loved ones, that is where I draw the line now.
Some of my stuff makes me really happy. But it was hard to appreciate those things when all the spaces in between the happiness were filled up with clutter, the stuff that weighs you down.
And so I invite you to think a little more carefully about your things. It’s hard to know where to start, it’s hard to know how to proceed, what to do with all the stuff.
But I make that easy for you, in a course that I run called Clear Your Space. Clear Your Mind. Where, in 10 weeks--with an online format--I take you from that overwhelm and exhaustion, that lack of time, that distracted state of mind, to a place where you and your home feel spacious, where you are energized and inspired to be surrounded only by your joy, where your life has more time and more focus.
It’s a really rewarding process, but one that takes time and effort. I find that the hardest part of walking that path alone, is that your stuff brings up all kinds of stories about your past--that you often, subconsciously, continue to tell yourself in the present, even though the stories are not true. The ego is really comfortable right where you are, even though you’re not happy, there is that part of you that resists change. It’s easier than growing, shifting, moving to the place where you want to be.
And so I encourage you to sign up for a FREE Strategy Session with me. It’s a half hour phone call where we delve into your specific struggles in relation to your space. And if you’re a good fit, we can talk about how I can help you move forward.
I only have appointments open THIS WEEK. And my openings are limited, so don’t wait. Schedule your free session TODAY. It can help to inspire that shift in your life that you’re looking for, it can inspire you to change what habits and messages and state-of-mind you are passing along to your kids.
You can't change the way you did things in the past, but you can take control of the present to create a better future outcome for yourself and your family.
I look forward to talking with you. :) Tenaya