Te mana o te whānau
How to keep the mana of babies intact, and the effects of not respecting others' mana.
We’ve read in Te Kōhuri 3 (page 19) that mana exists in all of us, even pēpi and tamariki. Everyone has mana to keep themselves safe.
In Mana (25–36 months), we’re asked to consider one way of keeping the mana of tamariki intact: by paying attention to the messages in the Tākai resources.
For example, if we were to follow the messages from the baby wall frieze, how might that influence the mana of the whānau?
Pātai atu ki te whānau:
- What would it be like if the whole whānau thought about messages in the baby frieze like, ‘Make me feel special’ or ‘Tell me I’m wonderful’?
- What effect do you think that would have?
Think of an experience where you’ve seen what happens when someone puts someone else down or tramples on their mana.
- Could you share a little about that situation?
- How did it make people feel? The giver? The receiver?
- What about you or others who were there to witness the situation?
- Do you think it’s ever okay for this to happen?
- What makes you think that?
Situations where someone is being verbally harassed or abused can cause stress or anxiety for anyone involved, including bystanders, particularly if they’re young children.
How it feels
Immature minds can find such events doubly confusing and stressful as they try to make sense of what is happening, especially if it involves people they love.
- Do you have any memories from your own childhood of situations like this?
- What about as an adult?
- Have you experienced being put down by someone? How did it feel?
- What about when we’ve put someone down ourselves?
- What sort of feelings are experienced by each person involved?
Any parent who loses their cool and verbally or physically lashes out towards their partner, tamaiti or other whānau members often feels ‘stink’ about their behaviour afterward. They can feel like their own mana has been diminished through their lack of personal control.
Feeling remorseful and admitting our behaviour was wrong are the first steps in the process of rebuilding our sense of mana and that of the others concerned. Rebuilding our relationships, especially with our tamariki, is so important. Not only does it lessen their feelings of anxiety, but it also models that things can get better after hurtful or challenging events happen.
- Let’s take a look at Ngā ara mātua for this age range.
- What do you think of using these parenting pathways as a guideline to help preserve mana for your tamaiti, for yourself and for your whānau?
- Are there any that you’d like to put into your daily routines that would keep your own mana intact?
- What would you like to ask of other people?
- What can you put in place for yourself?
- Do others know what is important to you and how to help you feel respected?
How does this relate to the Tākai resources?
Baby wall frieze – Whakarangatiratia ahau. Make me feel special — because I am special
Six things children need – Te aroha me te mahana. Love and warmth — because respectful relationships are at the core of positive parenting
Helpful resources for whānau
New Zealand Geographic: The meaning of mana
Here’s an interesting article written by Chris Winitana about mana and its delicate meanings.