There is strong language used in the Webster's New American Dictionary definitions referring to the word ‘team’ that resemble my feelings associated with that word; “join forces”, “devotion to teamwork”, “acting in close association”. As a family unit, my husband and I have used the words team and teamwork when speaking to our children about being members of the Nolan family.
We like to instill a sense of belonging, a sense of compassion and consideration for others, and a sense of pride with it all pertaining to our family. Every aspect of our direction and discipline with our children is with certain value systems in mind.
We instruct our children to speak to one another with respect, no name-calling, no insults. And our children follow this rule very well.
As I mentioned in a previous article, , we instruct our kids to keep their hands and body parts to themselves. This rule is constantly repeated because even friendly pats on the back or tight tickle squeezes of the knee fall under this rule. We know all too well how quickly the physicality of a situation can get out of control.
We also teach our children to be kind to one another, take turns, share, and be considerate of one another. We are reassured that our children operate under these guidelines when receiving compliments such as how “sweet and caring”, “well-mannered”, and “good sports” our children are out in the community by neighbors, teachers and even strangers in a store or at a restaurant.
As parents we must be doing something right when all three of our school aged children have received awards for integrity (amongst others), an attribute hard to come by. My oldest just received this for the second time last week, chosen unanimously by his teachers for this award. And their pediatrician who has over three thousand patients counts us in one of a mere three families that he finds a “true pleasure” to see every time. I can take that to heart.
Abraham Maslow, my favorite psychologist, designed a hierarchy of needs in a pyramid to explain his theory of human needs. First, he says we have our physiological needs of survival such as food, water, shelter, etc. Second, he says, are our needs for security and safety, such as in a society that protects against hunger and violence. Third, is one I reference to often because it’s just as apparent in any single human being as the previous needs but often times is not spoken of, and that is our need for belonging including love and friendships. His list goes on to include esteem and self-actualization. The need for belonging is relevant to the way we raise our family as a team who is collectively supportive and accepting.
In one of the most recent books I borrowed from the , The Teen Whisperer by Mike Linderman, is a discussion of human needs. In his book he explains that humans have five basic needs that motivate our choices in life. These needs differ from Maslow’s as they aren’t in any particular order but are much like Maslow’s as they include survival needs, the need for freedom, the need for fun, the need for power, and the need for love and belonging.
So when I met my oldest son after soccer practice at after running six miles on the bike path, I was infuriated to find him upset due to these very needs and values being dminished.
My first instinct was to turn around and confront the person I hold accountable. But I dare not embarrass my son this way, so we continued home, where I vented to my husband about the situation. He became just as upset as I was. So up to the computer I went to write this article while simultaneously writing an email that I hoped would at least make amends for my son.
While writing the email I refered to another previous article I wrote, . I have read that article more than once now, slept on the email, and through constructive feedback and a lot of thought on the subject and decided to revise everything I had written.
This lesson to live through peace is one that challenges me from time to time as a parent . I tend to be protective. But just as a life coach, when the reptilian brain takes over as a response to the limbic brain (the emotional brain), I have to support my client, which would be me in this case, clear my head in order to access the neocortex, which is the part of the brain that separates us from any other species.
Now with revisions made, I can better address our concerns.