This is the first post, in what will hopefully be, a helpful resource for all parents of the ISDenver community. In the Fall, you can look forward to an entire section for parents on our portal, including monthly blogs from me, resources, and upcoming events related to the social and emotional growth of your children. Warning, there are Avengers: Endgame spoilers in the post below, so read with caution.
I was a week late to the game in seeing Avengers: Endgame. I had anticipated this finale and was counting down the minutes until I could see Black Panther reappear on the screen, Wakanda Forever. So while I was able to turn off my work brain for the 3 hour film, when it ended, I began to think about how the movie tied in perfectly with our SEL theme of the month, Reflection.
The finale, as with many Marvel films, was about the choices we make and how we live with the consequences; whether those be positive or negative, create life or cause death, are a matter of fate or free will, or leave others feeling compassion or animosity. While, for most of us, the day to day decisions do not hold the same weight as the Hulk’s, it is never too early for our ISDenver learners to reflect on the consequences created by their choices. Every action has a reaction, but the simple laws of physics are not always as tangible to a child’s brain, the way they may be to Tony Stark’s.
When you look at Ironman, Tony Stark, you see a man of principle. One, who like the IB Learner Profile of Principled (2010), “act[s] with integrity and honesty, with a strong sense of fairness, justice and respect for the dignity of the individual, groups and communities.” Isn’t that what makes him a superhero? One might also argue that this is what defines us parents as well. For every decision we make on a daily basis, we do so with the thought of our children’s well-being in the back of our minds.
The arduous role comes from the second half of the definition, which states that to be principled we must, “take responsibility for our actions and any consequences from those actions (2010).” How as a parent do we reflect on our decisions and admit, when necessary, that they were wrong? Does that take away our parent superhero status?
As we ask our learners to reflect on their past year and question how they were principled, it is important that as parents, we too reflect on our outcomes. For while we lack the Ant Man’s time travel abilities to undo any of our wrongdoings, we maintain the crucial power to take responsibility for the choices we make, and this is one of the few things in life we control implicitly. When we contemplate not only the good, but the inferior as well, we are being principled and reflective parents.
Regina Pally, author of ‘The Reflective Parent: How to Do Less and Relate More with Your Kids,’ shares five basic skills of being a Reflective Parent. She states you must: “1. Push pause and slow down; 2. Be present in the moment; 3. Observe the behavior and label it with words (even if you don’t say them); 4. Reflect on the meaning of the behavior, your child’s and yours; 5. Use the understanding you get from skills 1-4 to guide your response.” For many, this is uncomfortable because it requires us to reflect on not just our child’s actions, but on our own as well. Everyday we make choices on behalf of our children, in hopes that we are being just and appropriately fair, but having the power to admit when our actions have led us to stray from this ideal outcome, is when we stop being reactive parents and start being reflective.
As the year winds down and our children look back on who are they and what they want to become, it is our opportunity, as parents, to model the same. For if Avengers taught us anything, it is that what can be destroyed with a snap of a finger, can just as easily be saved by putting down our Captain America shield, stepping back in time, and reflecting.
For more information on Reflective Parenting, please refer to the following:
- IB Learner Profile