Raising Global Citizens

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“All we have to do is decide is what to do with the time that is given to us” – unknown.

In choosing a life of simplicity my thinking is constantly challenged. Food, clutter, environment, sustainability, creativity, schooling, fash rev, parenting, travel, oh yes, it’s never dull in my mind! It’s what I love the most about a more minimalist approach to life. There is time to think and discover alternatives to the status quo while considering what really matters and then the clarity to act. This kind of clutter free mind-time has been a great gift.

When I’m trying to make a decision sometimes I need to ride it out, give myself some space to allow my thoughts to process, and to also accept that there is often discomfort when challenging thoughts and behaviours. However, in time, the magic appears, the dots that need joining become clear and the path to action seems simpler.

In a moment of weakness about a month ago I allowed my just 12 year old to sign up to an Instagram account. There are many reasons why I’ve kept him off actively participating in social media, but I ignored them. My husband had been working a lot and I was getting tired. The kids are also indoors a lot more than normal as we live in a city apartment before our overseas adventure so there is a little more screen time than I’d like. I guess I just didn’t think it through, and it happened, he signed up.

I’ve been monitoring his online presence and while his posts are completely appropriate and there have been a few ‘chats’ and ‘posts’ that have provided us positive learning experiences, still, it niggles me. I know other parents also monitor their children so these ‘private’ chats are not private, which is how it should be, but are these chats needed? I try to limit excess noise and to be honest I think this is the type of excess noise is exactly the type that my son doesn’t need. Sure have some screen time, play a game or watch a video but not the noise of so many people, many of whom are situational not friends.

Last night after a day of ‘events’ both at and after school I decided that managing life as a pre-teen in day to day life is enough. I made the decision that he needs to remove himself from Instagram, thankfully Greg agreed. Part of me feels conflicted, of course, it is a hard decision. He is a responsible kid but as the parent it has to sit right with me, and frankly it just doesn’t.

I slept on it, the more rational one reminded me not to compound his day by adding to it but to let it happen slowly. It feels clearer today, it’s the right thing to do and the magic dots have appeared and are ready to be joined.

Children spell love T.I.M.E. 

I have been following the global guardian project for a while and raising global guardians who care about the environment is absolutely something I value and it’s my job to provide these foundations for my children. As a parent one of things I have always been mindfully conscious of is that kids don’t just happen, they need parenting. A few years ago when for a period of time in a new city I felt a little isolated it and parenting wasn’t  feeling enjoyable, I wasn’t the parent I wanted to be, I started simplifying. I needed it to be enjoyable and I think it takes truckloads of energy and time to be an engaged parent, energy and time come with simplicity.

In the early years I went to a parenting talk and the presenter said that if you want a kind house, you need to be kind, if you want caring kids you need a caring house, active kids you need activity, calm kids, a calm house etc. that has always stuck with me. Sometimes it takes tough decisions and effort to be the parent you want to be and to raise the kids you want to raise. So I made the tough choice to say ‘no’ to social media for the moment for my 12 year old. It would be easier to ignore it but I’m not about easy and I’m not about the ‘norm’ when it doesn’t feel right.

I want my children to live their life in the now, to be able to make new friends, to enjoy the experiences ahead of them and to learn from life experiences. True friends will always be friends and at 12 years of age I don’t think kids need to be connected to every person that they ever went to school with. Giving my children the space to have a long and free childhood and to be in control of their influences has always been on my parenting manifesto as I endeavour to grow global citizens with the skills and knowledge to be caring, happy, kind, mindful, resilient self sufficient adults that care about the planet.

I’ve discussed it with my son and he knows that this weekend we will shut down the account. He seems ok with it, thankfully it’s only been a month, but we’ll see, there may be discomfort. I’m giving him the weekend to digest it, it’s not about taking it away as a punishment it’s about removing him from a world that really doesn’t offer him what he needs at this time in his life. I’m trading it for more meaningful time with us. I’ve never been one for competition and winning but more about personal success, so I’ll spend a little more time guiding him to create opportunities for success in the areas he is passionate about…that seems worth the discomfort and a fair trade to me.

And today we started, a learning experience for us all, our travel journals, and a little indulging of his and my shared passion of geography, yes raising global citizens that’s where I’ll be while I’m travelling. Next we will start writing about our hopes, dreams and fears for our trip….

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Special thanks to my friend Brydie at City Hippy Farm Girl for asking me some questions that have had me thinking about some of my travel and life priorities. x x

“The ocean is beautiful, the ocean is magical, the ocean is captivating, and so are our children they both deserve the best an ocean clean and abundant with magic and life and a desire to fiercely protect it for themselves and for their children its our job as global minded parents to care for our oceans today before it’s too late. Teach your child to love the ocean and all creatures who inhabit it they will become the adults who will SAVE our WORLD. The ocean touches you everyday with every drop of water you drink, every breath you take, you are connected to the ocean.” Sylvia Earle on Global Guardian Project.

 

6 thoughts on “Raising Global Citizens

  1. Oh Fran I love this so much!!!! Thankfully between our 5 children we never had any MAJOR social media issues but there was a few that made us niggly. Your son is taking it well and timing I think was on your side with only 1 month in… more time might have caused some real blow back.
    Good job mamma!!!

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    • Hello there Lovely Tracie C! Yes, I think you’re right, 1 month in made it quite simple…there was no blow back, a weekend of discomfort but thankfully that resolved rather quickly. It really is a new world, one we have to navigate both personally and for our kids. Brilliant that you’re on the other end without any major issues…we are just beginning the digital age here. Nice to be able to shelter them a little longer with country life and adventure travel.

      Fran x

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  2. Such a good post Fran. You are doing an amazing job, I’ve no doubt what so ever your small ones will be the global citizens you wish them to be. So many new adventures to be had at your finger tips, and that is so exciting. Xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Aw thanks Brydie, just doing the best we can aren’t we. I think it does pay to recognise that sometimes it is difficult and the easy answer is not always the best answer. A whole new world to navigate I think as primary school years come to an end, glad I have such an inspired team around me to keep me on track.

      Fran xx

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  3. What a wonderful, thoughtful decision! I’m so glad that smart phones didn’t enter our world until our children were in high school (cop out answer I know!). Even if the voices and influences are monitored, I totally agree with what you wrote: “…are these chats needed? I try to limit excess noise and to be honest I think this is the type of excess noise is exactly the type that my son doesn’t need.”

    I think that is why I have been off social media and my web presence has decreased. I felt it was too much noise in my head; and it is noise I can’t control. Nor can I control how it makes me feel – especially if it makes me feel inadequate or lacking. Can only imagine how kids feel with all they see on social media.

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  4. Hey Lisa, not a cop out at all, so lucky actually! I must say though moving to the country has changed things a little, there is a lot of quiet here…no billboards or visual noise other than birds and country scape. I can’t help but glow when I see how positively this is affecting the children. It is probably also because we have so much time available as our world is also quieter.

    I agree I don’t think social media is a good place if it doesn’t make you feel good. If I had that feeling with Instagram I wouldn’t be on it, there isn’t room for that kind of self doubt in life. I had that with blogging initially, so I completely backed off when it was overwhelming and all consuming. Now I just come and go 😉 I think it will become more of a travel journal.

    Fran x

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