Monday, September 2, 2013

Keys To Raising Children To Be Self-Thinkers

"The natural aptitude of parents should be, first and foremost, a willingness to allow children the freedom to become themselves"... Papa Green Bean

Key Words/Phrases Every Parent Should Embrace For Their Child

parent and child enjoying nature
Papa Green Bean and his daughter, Anna,
taking time to observe nature.
  • Patience: Do not interrupt a child's focus. Let her/him participate - no time constraints - i.e. let your child make breakfast; create a birthday card; decorate the Christmas tree - at their pace.

  • Freedom to Observe: Allow the child time to concentrate (this particularly applies to newborns) through perception. Create an environment with plenty of variety to saturate naturally and spontaneously. A child's immediate surroundings should be sensorial rainbows with interesting social dynamics (siblings, neighbors, pets...) and an attractive decor that pleases the child's psyche (music, paintings, plants...). 

  • Independence: Let your children do for themselves. Let them make mistakes... let them correct themselves... at their own doing and rhythm. Instill the attitude that there is "no harm done" by trying something new... "Try it"... "at least, try". Give responsibility... expect responsible actions.

  • Encouragement: Eliminate using the "NO" word (here, it is often necessary to make a conscious effort, before it becomes second-nature). Use positive reinforcement in all matters. Use tact with your child. Be sensitive to their curiosity, and manner in which they are experimenting within their new world. 
An example - refrain from fussing over a fall... lets the child understand that running, falling, and     getting back up, is simply part of living life with gusto.

  • Empowerment: Liberate the child with decision making. Explain to them consequences, along with possible avenues to calculate the outcomes - then let them choose. Enabling the child to use their own judgement, in their daily activities, strengthens and builds their confidence, while sharpening their critical thinking skills. I mean practically every decision. There are multiple opportunities in the daily tasks of life. Again - make it a life-long habit.
young boy plays to develop his confidence and motor skils
Toddler exploring to his hearts content!

  • Freedom to Explore: Give the child time to move at his/her pace. It might not seem worthwhile to an untrained adult eye, however, children create themselves in the most minute actions, if left untethered. Appreciate, spontaneously, the miracle of the great outdoors. Welcome, with awe, every living being (just as adults should treat babies, infants, and toddlers). Observe the beauty in all of life with admiration, wonder, and awe.
An example: If you give a child the time to keenly follow an ant on its journey along a sidewalk into the forest of grass, he/she will deeply connect to the reverence of life, and in so doing, will build his/her empathy for others... one our most treasured human traits.

  • Freedom to Discover: It is okay to get dirty. To experiment unhindered, as a scientist, (even with elements of risk involved). Do everything in your will power to not hurry a child's curiosity or determination. This includes refraining from helping the child (to 'save' time) if they are able to do it themselves.
young girl observing nature
My good friend, Ruby, watching a crab
make its way along the bottom of an
indoor observation pond
A personal exampleOne evening, I was child sitting a friend's daughter, Ruby. She was just two years old, and it was time to brush her teeth. I asked her how she was able to reach the sink, and she pointed to a step stool over on the other side of the room, tucked in the corner. It would have been so easy for me to pick it up, carry it over, and place it in front of the sink. But it dawned on me that young children  love to move heavy (relatively) objects themselves. I asked Ruby to show me where it should go (this is one of my 'tricks' - to pretend I need help with something, and so, summoning the young child's assistance; it makes them feel special). She strained and struggled, but slowly slid the step stool over to the sink and said with glee, "I did it". I simply said, "Thanks, Ruby". She scampered up the step stool and grabbed her brush with enthusiasm.   


Children are born to be self-thinkers. It is our responsibility to not hinder, but cultivate, the natural human characteristics within the newborn. Then, it is their destiny to create themselves into cheerful, confident, curious, and caring adults. This is the evolutionary goal of civilization and humankind.

Cheers, Papa Green Bean

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