Sharing the practice of Ubuntu by Joanna Fortune
Ubuntu is the practice of showing humanity towards each other. It is an African tribal practice that upholds that all people are inher- ently good, but we can all make mistakes and poor judgements in our lives. The practice is that members of the tribal community sit in a circle around the misguided person for two full days speaking aloud only the good that they see in them.
How lovely an idea is that? I am not suggesting that your family sit around your teenager for two days telling them how great they are, but I am asking that you ensure you tell them something every day. This daily practice of kindness will reap huge benefits in your teenager and yourself as individuals, and in addition your relationship will be strengthened.
I do not intend to infer that without us ‘inviting’ or actively supporting them to express their feelings that our teenagers will not be able to feel; I simply mean that we can strengthen this process with and for them through our support. Of course, they will feel a variety of emotions, but they may lack the language and vocabulary to express those emotions calmly in a way that deepens connection with others rather than fuelling distance. Our role as parents of adolescents is to serve as their emotional road map until they can drive that terrain themselves.