As the mother of two with husband Dax Shepard, Kristen Bell is no stranger to parenthood, and shares her insights with readers as the guest editor of the November issue of Parents magazine.
As she explains, she and Shepard are trying to raise their daughters — Lincoln, three, and Delta, 22 months — to be charitable, instilling in them the importance of giving back. “It helps them to look past boundaries,” she says. “I don’t want my kids to be restricted by country lines, religious beliefs, or languages. I want them to see the whole of mankind: It makes everything less scary, more accessible. Charity teaches our kids that what we have is not who we are.”
She adds: “It’s not about who has a house with a pool, the most toys, or the coolest clothes. Feeling attached to possessions can cause a child to identify and value his or her self-worth based on materialism. My wish is that my kids are able to discern between what’s disposable in life and what’s not.”
Bringing the topic around to the ongoing presidential election in the U.S., Bell says that she sees the polarizing race as “a teaching opportunity for my girls. The same ideals that we ingrain in our children apply to us adults as we choose our national leader.”
As she points out: “We encourage kids to listen, to play nicely. We teach them to be accepting and respectful of differences. Above all else, we show them kindness is key. So when you’re explaining to your child why your neighbour doesn’t like the sign in your front yard, it will benefit everyone to approach the conversation through those tenets. After all, despite vast differences, we are, at our core, the very same. We are all skin, bones, and beating hearts.”
Bell also offers some parental advice: get over it. “I think you become an official card-carrying adult the day you realize you just have to get over it,” she says. “Most petty annoyances are a sample math equation: You + someone/something = positive outcome/negative outcome. Since you can’t control anyone else’s actions, you can only affect 50 per cent of that equation. But when you relinquish control over the other half, your 50 per cent turns into 100 per cent and your sum is almost always positive.”
You can read more in the November issue of Parents — and you can catch Kristen Bell alongside Ted Danson each week in “The Good Place”, airing at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on Global; you can also watch full episodes online.