As parents, one crucial role that we play is encouraging our children to trust their intuition. So often we have a gut feeling about something that we don't trust or follow up on. If we can help our children to start validating their intuition now, we may be able to help them avoid some heartache in their lives.
Seventh grade was a rough school year for me, as I had some very serious stomach things going on. I missed a fair amount of school. I had an English teacher named Mr. Peterson. Mr. Peterson had a classroom in the basement of the school. There was no other classroom around his. I was very uncomfortable with him. He had a creepy vibe that was a red flag to me. In my 7th grade 12 year old psyche, I recognized him as a sexual predator. He stood too close to me. He put his hand on my back while lecturing and he made my skin crawl. I had discussed with my mother how uncomfortable I was with his teacher and how much I hated going down to that secluded classroom.
With so many absences, I was frequently needing to gather up homework assignments from things I had missed. All of my other teachers would give me those assignments in class, no problem. Mr. Peterson would not. He would require me to go to his classroom after school to see him. Because my mother had raised me to trust myself, I knew to never go into his classroom alone. I would always take two of my best friends with me. One day when I went into his classroom to collect some homework, he informed me that he would not be able to give it to me with my friends there. They were just too distracting and he needed my undivided attention. He told me if they would leave he would give me my homework assignments. I knew immediately that something was wrong. They did not leave. Not without me anyway. We left together. I went home and told my mom what had happened. She was seething with anger.
The next day she met me after school. We walked into Mr. Peterson's classroom together. His face paled as he looked up and saw me standing there with my mother. She informed him that we were there to get my late work. She also informed him that it was very inappropriate to ask me to come into his classroom alone, and that no children should be coming into his classroom alone. She let him know that from now on if he needed to provide me with something, it would be done during class hours. She told him that she had instructed me never to go into his classroom after school by myself or otherwise. She also told him that we would be paying the visit to the office to let the principal know as well, as she felt that maybe he was having problems with keeping boundaries with students. He quietly agreed. The funny thing is, he didn't have anything to give me. And he never gave me anything in class either. There were really no assignments that I need to turn in. He was luring me into that dark, quiet classroom and trying to insist that I come in there alone.
I don't really know what would have happened had I not listened to my gut. I believe that I could have had an experience that would have scarred me and my teenage experiences profoundly. Looking back now, I realized how many props I have to give my mom. Not only did she unquestioningly trust my intuition, but she marched into that school, looked that man in the eye and schooled him on inappropriate contact and boundaries with students. She called him directly on the carpet. She was not concerned with his feelings, she was completely focused on mine. That took a lot of courage.That experience empowered me to continue to unfailingly listen to my intuition. It has not been hard for me to act on a gut feeling.
How then, can we empower our children to trust their intuition? By listening to them, by asking questions and by trusting their gut. Talk about intuition at home. Share your experiences with your children. It is vital to normalize acting on feelings. I strongly believe that helping our kids learn to trust their gut will set them up to be safe, confident and empowered people.