How Public Transportation Can Help You Consciously Parent
Say hello to our newest writer Jasmin Cervantes! She loves pregnancy, photography, adventure, food and cycling, and lives with her husband and two children in Los Angeles. She blogs regularly over at Little Nugget Big Nugget, and we’re so pumped to have her as our newest contributor! Read on for her first post on why taking your kids on public transportation can be a great experience for the whole family.
Before my second baby was born, I traveled to many places with my firstborn using public transportation. When I did it then, I enjoyed our travels but didn’t think of them as opportunities to model things I wanted my children to learn. Now, I love using public transportation to adventure and consciously parent my children. Of course, exposing my children to strangers and situations out of my control was (and still is) nerve-racking, but that’s the beauty of it as well. I’ve learned that there’s no better way for me to teach my children how to navigate life than to actually live life surrounded by others attempting to do the same.
Stepping outside of our bubble was hard, but once I began leaning into the fear of the many “what ifs,” I found lessons presented themselves faster than my fears could keep up with. I learned to become comfortable with living in the moment and reacting the best and most conscious way that I could. The results of doing so were more gratifying than I could have ever planned for. Here are a few things I’ve found public transportation to be useful in teaching.
1. When and when not to talk to strangers.
I have learned the importance of teaching my children when and when not to talk to strangers — in other words, teach them awareness. There will be a time when I am not with them and they may need to ask for help. I prefer them to know who, when and where to safely ask for assistance. Public transportation provides plenty of opportunities to teach this.
2. Tolerance and respect.
This is another important one to me, especially because of our current times. Many types of people use public transportation, and if I were to keep my children enclosed in our bubble at all times, they would not be exposed to them. People of different colors, different abilities and people who speak different languages are all people I want my children to be confident around. I strive for my children to learn not only to be tolerant of people different from them, but to also treat them with respect.
I have noticed the difference between being a person who takes public transportation and being a courteous person who takes public transportation. What differentiates the two? Believe it or not, a simple “hello” or “please” and “thank you” does. I don’t want my children to timidly navigate life, or to block out the world while lost in their electronics. I want them to learn how to confidently engage with others while being courteous. Public transportation provides many opportunities for me to model this for my children.
Teaching my children when to give up a seat or when to accept a seat on the bus is a great way to teach and experience kindness. It is more often that a seat is offered to me because I’m traveling with children, and it doesn’t fail for my son to ask why we took someone else’s seat. This is a great opportunity for me to explain the person’s kindness. Then, there are times when we are seated in the handicapped area of the bus and have to offer the space to a person in a wheelchair — yet another moment to teach a lesson of kindness, courtesy and respect.
I am looking forward to sharing more public transportation lessons with you as my youngest gets older and we can go farther.
Did your parents ever use public transportation with you as a child? If yes, what do you remember learning from those travels? —Jasmin