This week was refreshing as we started the final block of the Fundamentals of Medicine: The Nervous System and Human Behavior. The previous block (Reproduction) was surprisingly one of the most challenging blocks for me due to the sensitive nature of some of the topics such as complications in pregnancy. It was difficult to listen to the lecture on miscarriage having personally experienced the trauma of a miscarriage 7 years ago. It felt like I was reliving the experience and I found myself thinking about my dear, sweet, unborn child that I never got to meet.
Moments like this plus settling my son into Grade 1, helping him with homework, occasionally managing on my own while my husband was away, plus the pressure of exams, made things seem overwhelming at times (there were definitely plenty of tears). But I continually remind myself how grateful I am to be in medical school and how much I enjoy it. And in those moments when I was really down, I thank God for his indescribable peace and grace that sustained me. I thank God for my wonderful husband, who despite experiencing his own stress and pressure at work, continues to support me and stand by me on this journey. I thank God for my family and friends who continue to pray for me and motivate me. Sometimes I feel as if I am a marathon runner who has supporters running alongside me shouting, “Keep going! Don’t give up! Keep your eye on the prize!”
One of my dearest cousins used to tell me that nothing worth having in life ever comes easily. This needn’t scare us about trying things and stretching ourselves beyond our comfort zone! It is worth the effort, tears and sweat in the end!
I am truly excited to be learning about the human brain, nervous system and behavior over the next few weeks. This week in the anatomy lab, I had the rare privilege of holding a human brain in my hands. I hope this will not be too gruesome for some of you to read but I had to write this to express my sincere appreciation for the magnificence of the human body and for those people who donated themselves for our educational learning. To be holding the essence of this individual’s personality, memories, hopes and dreams in my hands made me reflect on how important each life is.
Featured Image by Potential Doctor: Sunset view of Montreal after a hike up Mont Royal
A few weeks ago, I started a new series on parenting principles based on several parenting books I read over the summer (plus my own parenting experience so far). The first principle in the series was speaking positively about our children, affirming them while avoiding harmful and destructive criticism. Today, we move on to the second principle.
Parenting Principle Number Two: Discipline is an Expression of love
Do we really need to discipline our kids? This is a tough one! Some days, it’s so much easier to just let the kids behave however they want. But I have to remind myself that this is not true love. While it may be easier in the moment to not discipline my child, this is not in their best interests in the long term.
What are some strategies for disciplining kids? Each parent will have their own strategy and values regarding discipline but what I have found works well for our family is outlined in Brittany Ann’s book “Teach Your Children How to Behave”. The basic concept is teaching your children how to make the right choice rather than simply ordering them to “do” or “not do” something. We as the parents then follow through with consistent consequences if they make the wrong choice. I am seeing the value of teaching my kids this from an early age.
Disciplining children is tough! It can make us feel like mean parents (yes, I have been called “mean mummy!”) and it can be tempting to take the easy route. As difficult and emotionally wrenching as it can be to discipline our kids, it is worth it for the long term character building of our children and demonstrates how deeply we love them!
Raising kids is one of the greatest challenges one can face. It calls for the utmost patience, unconditional love, and draws stark attention to our own weaknesses. I personally realized that I was not as patient as I thought I was. I can recall my angry outbursts and frustration with my two young children (particularly my son), often feeling like I had no idea what I was doing when it came to parenting. I couldn’t understand why they simply couldn’t listen more…and whine less!!
This summer, with my kids home with me every day for 2 months straight, I knew something had to change with my parenting approach. I didn’t like the fact that I felt so much frustration and helplessness. I decided to take concrete action and found that I started to see significant improvements in my son’s behavior (and my own!) If there’s one thing that I have realized with kids, it’s that often their negative behavior is fueled by my own behavior and attitudes.
So what action did I take? In a nutshell, I prayed daily about the situation and I read parenting resources voraciously. Then I applied what I learned consistently!
I have distilled what I learned down to five basic principles which I learned from several different books and online resources. I feel that these ideas have completely transformed the way that I see myself and my children. I will share these principles with you over a series of posts, but let’s get started with the first one.
Parenting Principle Number One: Positive Speaking
Speak positively about your child and to your child: A child responds to your demeanor and attitude toward them. If all they hear is negative words about themselves, this is how they will behave. Negativity can slip out unintentionally in a moment of frustration: “You’re so messy!”, “You’re so slow!”, “What’s wrong with you!!”. I know I have been guilty of putting down my son when I could have been more gentle or understanding.
How can you create a more positive environment for your child? Focus on your child’s strengths. What are they good at? What did they do well today? This can be in the simplest of ways, “Thank you for putting your toys away” or “You were really sweet with you sister today, that’s great!” or “You’re really good at building things, keep up the effort!” This doesn’t mean ignoring their weaknesses or any bad behavior, but it means putting more emphasis on what the did well rather than what they failed at.
This principle was inspired by reading “Raising Positive Kids in a Negative World” by Zig Ziglar.
Stay tuned for Principle Number 2 in this series of ‘Parenting Principles That Transformed My Life’
Mummy: “Nope, and we can’t return him to the store either!”
I love how kids think. They are so curious and genuine, not afraid of how people are going to react to their questions or comments. My children teach me so much every day. From their enthusiastic attempts to learn a language to trying to understand the world around them. I am reminded that it is good to sometimes slow down our busy world and look at life through simple eyes, just like a child.
Kids say the funniest things. They are so innocent and have a such a fresh way of viewing the world. Things that have long since become boring and mundane to adults still hold a spark of excitement in the eye of a child and it truly is refreshing to be in the company of children.
My son Caleb who is almost 4 years old has a great sense of humor and he is constantly making us laugh so I thought I would share some of the hilarious and heartwarming things he has said:
The Art of Negotiation: “Mummy, I can’t eat my carrots because they’re too orange!”
Deep Thoughts on Pain: When Caleb had a tummy ache, “Let’s go to the water park so we can wash the hurt away”
Questions in Anatomy: Caleb asks, “Mummy, where’s your ‘wee-wee’?” Mummy responds, “I don’t have one” Caleb says, “Then where does the pee come out?” Blank stare from mummy….
Early Signs of Compassion: Caleb sees daddy peeling carrots and shouts, “Stop daddy! You’re hurting the carrots!”
Brother-sister love: “My very best friend in the whole wide world is my baby sister”
On the Subject of Daddy: “Daddy’s not a boy. Daddy’s not a man. Daddy’s a daddy!”
Lessons in Biology: “Granny can’t be a mummy because she doesn’t have any little boys” (in reference to my mother-in-law)
A Child’s Simple Trust: “When I’m scared, God will keep me safe like mummy and daddy do”
Melt-worthy Material: “I like hugs and kisses!”
Logical Thinking: After a particularly rambunctious day and the house in a complete mess, mummy says, “You kids have turned the house upside-down!” Caleb responds, “That’s not possible, mummy. The floor is too big and it’s stuck to the ground”
Culinary Tastes: “Where are my squashed potatoes, mummy?” (Instead of ‘mashed’ potatoes)
On the Subject of Father’s Day: “If there’s Father’s Day, is there also Boy’s day?”