This past weekend I had the pleasure of attending Dr. Shefali Tsabary’s EVOLVE parent conference in New York city. It was a conference full of wonderful insight in deeply meaningful and personal ways. There is such power in understanding the connection of our own selves in the growing up of our children.
It was at this same conference last year that I had the pleasure of meeting Aric Bostick. Now, to meet Aric Bostick – an incredibly popular motivational speaker for youth, teachers, and parents – is to meet pure, spontaneous, contagious energy in the form of an extraordinarily caring and charismatic human being! Together with his partner, Jeni, Aric shares in the love of their 8 year old daughter, raising her up immersed in compassion and consciousness.
To give you a sense of Aric’s ability to really get people and connect with them, I will tell you that my 9-year-old son Maxwell “met” Aric on a Skype call one day several months ago, and Aric was so intuitively and energetically on top of that connection, that Maxwell even now asks about him regularly as that “really cool guy” I get to work with!
So now that you understand a little bit about the essence of Aric Bostick, I want to share with you this simple, direct, and literally profound script he put out to the conference participants on 7 things parents can do every day to positively infuse the daily experiences of their children with care and compassion. Aric is famous for his use of the word “AWESOME” and it is in that word that he found the inspiration for this parent script. It goes like this (with some explanations I have added based on listening to his inspiring talk in New York!):
Awaken your child with love and kindness each morning
Actually connect with your child and ask them how they would like to be awakened each morning, the order they like their morning routine to play out in, and what exactly would they love for you to do for them so they can have an ideal start to their day.
Accept your child for who they are, and love them as they are
Every single one of us is our own unique person. Accept and embrace the uniqueness of your child and allow that to flow from them, without the worry of what the world around might think, and with an absolute focus on simply allowing your child to be as they are.
Encourage and celebrate your child everyday
Comment on your child’s awesomeness, achievements, ability to pick themselves up and dust themselves off, even just having made it through the day.
Be spontaneous and fun
Find ways to have your children laugh. Everyday. With you. More than once. In your role as parent, seek the joy. Where there is fun, you are also much more likely to find harmony, cooperation, and respect.
Be optimistic that your child will have a great life and live their dreams!
If your child tells you they want to be an artist – exclaim over that! A nautical engineer – champion that. An astronaut – be excited! No matter that the dream might change from day to day, might not be aligned with your own idea of “success” or might not be realistic in your opinion, just get behind it and love it. Which your child will experience quite simply as you being behind them and loving them.
Model success each day by pursuing your own goals and living a happy, healthy life
Your children are watching you and absorbing you. As you go about your life, so too do they go about theirs. Have you always wanted to learn how to paint? DO IT! Exercise, eat well, visit with friends, take chances in pursuit of career goals. And do all of this knowing it is a gift to your children as they continue to grow and develop goals and pursuits of their own.
Empathize with your children, listen thoughtfully, and support them through life’s ups and downs
As human beings one of the most powerful forms of connection we can have with those who love us is to be deeply and truly known. As your children struggle through sharing with a sibling, failing a test at school, managing peer interactions, not making the basketball team, or any number of other challenges that are sure to come their way, having them feel like you really get it, you really are interested in them, and you really do have their back. No. Matter. What.
Try not to get lost in the details of how-to’s but instead, focus on the essence of all of this. It is here, in the essence, that you will find the person who your child truly is. And in finding that, be so beautifully positioned to be the kind of parent that sets them free to soar! And in true Aric Bostick fashion – and everyone who has ever had the good fortune of hearing Aric speak will know exactly what I mean by this (!) – give yourself two claps, a hi-5, and a “you’re awesome” cheer!
Now go on. Go and be awesome.