Is the Child Free to Think?

Are you ever reminded of a time in the past that you wish you had handled differently?

When it comes to relationships I often am.  Today while shopping for a few miscellaneous things in Walmart a small child was slapped by the man pushing her cart.  She was whining a little, trying to say something she was interested in.  Kids are always wanting something when they are paraded through the aisles of a store, that’s human nature.  This particular child wasn’t even obnoxious as many I have heard tend to get when wanting something. He was loud, forceful, and totally rude.  He certainly stopped her from asking for whatever it was and there was no more whining, just a low, pitiful cry from her tiny voice.

This pushed me into instant depression, despite my efforts to let it go in my head.  When I get depressed I often revert back to all the things I’ve done wrong in my life.  I become full of regret, mostly regarding my children.

On my drive home, trying to pull myself away from dwelling in regret, I wanted to share my wisdom with someone in the hopes of lessening their potential for future regret.  It’s like that with any knowledge I get, I always think of who I want to share it with.  I had hit on this thought of a parent listening to what their child thinks without blowing them off or telling them they shouldn’t think like that, no matter what.

Since Leia is the “wind beneath my wings” I thought of things I wanted to say to her mother.  This little girl is often the reason I stay afloat some days.  If she is sad, I feel her devastation most deeply.  When she is happy and delighted about something I, too, am all smiles.

Here is what I wish I had done with my children: Listen to what they are feeling without adding judgment.  This is critical to get them to trust us with their whole being.  As it is, it seems they are only free to tell us what they think we want to hear.  What if we let them tell us about the negative thoughts, also?  Unfortunately, a parent wants to squelch that negative notion, and thereby banishing their fears.  That doesn’t seem to be working out well.  Telling a 5 year old not to have negative thoughts – how is that working out?

It’s not just about any negative thought the child has, they may have a variety of likes and dislikes they are told to forget, to keep to themselves.  Shouldn’t we try to understand all those thoughts our child has?  If we do we may better understand what makes them function as they do – sweet or naughty.

Getting a child to feel comfortable revealing anything to the parent allows for much better communication between the two.  I wish I had done that so maybe my children would have come to me with what was bothering them, with what they perceived was troubling in their life.  It is human nature to seek comfort and relief in some form or another, unfortunately, that avenue could be self-destructive.  Or, at the minimum, they can choose to distance themselves from us and we will never really know them at the heart.

What should we do then, just let them have negative thoughts?  No, we don’t want that.  What we should want if for the child to be comfortable with telling us everything because this is a test of what kind of relationship bond the two are to have later on.  We listen first and when the child is ready to hear a solution then we offer one.  I don’t believe we help them over their fear by simply telling them to “get over it”.

Here is a simplified example of an exchange.

Mom: Please go pick out your jammies, its bath time.

Child: I can’t.

Parent: Why not?

Child: My room is dark.

Parent: Well, turn on the light!

Child: I’m scared of the dark.

This is where the parent may resort to yelling at the child to get over it, right?

What if we opened up a dialogue with the child to discover what was really going on.  Maybe the child is apprehensive about what might be in the dark, or struggles to reach the right spot for the light, or doesn’t want to get the jammies because it means bath time which inevitable means bed time and wants to procrastinate against that.  It doesn’t matter what, it is a chance to explore what is going on in the child’s mind.  If it is just the fear of the dark, perhaps the child can wait for a moment and the parent will accompany the child so they both can check out what waits in the dark.  Soon enough the child lets go of the fear because so far there wasn’t anything to be afraid of for sure.  As for the rest of the reasons, the parent has honestly listened to and acknowledged the child, and moves on in the natural order of events.  Even if the child didn’t get her way, she got herself heard, and there is quite some satisfaction in that.

It doesn’t have to be complicated if we just pause before spouting out what they “should” think.  We should never tell them they are stupid for thinking that or feeling that way. They can’t help what they think at a tender age, they need to be guided by someone they can trust to understand, no matter what.

One of my biggest fears today is that I will not be understood and accepted for who I really am.  Relationships are still very hard for me, I can’t open up and share my true feelings.  It takes a good amount of openness for strong relationships with others to develop.

Let’s listen to what someone thinks, without being judgmental. Our little ones need to know that what they think just is and can be dealt with without judgment against their person, and is not something to be hushed and buried.

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Memorial Service for Hospice and Reading Revelations

Good news from DGD today.  Apparently the new maternity scrub was a hit at her clinic today.  She said she got lots of compliments.  That tells me it actually fit since she wore it.  Yeah.

This afternoon DD and I attended a memorial service led by Hospice for all who died since October.  We were chosen to light the February candle.  Our Joey’s name was read under February.  I hoped attending would help us.  There were so many people there – so many names on the pages of deceased.  Maybe it did help because every step we take outside of our own grief we learn to cope for another day.  Maybe new insights came to us, we did a good bit of talking during the trip.  We went through several tissues of course.  Since we have been doing Wednesday night studies on the letters to the 7 churches in the book of Revelations and Kristy has been reading “The Rapture Exposed” we have been talking about the Coming of Christ and what it means.  One thing is that Joey is asleep, he is at peace, no more suffering.  We, on the other hand, must learn to pull out of our depression and find the joy in living on.  It is stated in the Bible that we aren’t to grieve like people with no hope.  It is important for us to remember our belief in the indestructible  personal union with Christ’s own life – now and later.

Being a techie kind of person, I have always wanted to know stuff as soon, if not before, it became available.  Always wanted to know how things work, the whys were always big questions from me.  So, I can understand people wanting to know when the end of the world is coming and their drive to seek the key to knowing this.  Like reading Revelations and matching events through out time.  What if God wasn’t on a human time line?  What if we humans haven’t unlocked the code because it just doesn’t fit on that timeline?  Do you think the Bible writers were inspired by God to tell us to be ready right now?  Be about the business of the Great Commission now.  Be about the task of loving as God loved us right now, everywhere, without reservations.  We might not think the END is tomorrow, but what if it is?  What if the end of the world as we know it – even though we hadn’t figured it out for sure – suddenly plopped down on tomorrow’s date?  I think the answers have always been in front of us, calling out to us from the pages of the Bible.  What did Jesus try to teach us?  The teachings have been repeated often: Be ready, because only God knows the when, and He isn’t telling it.

We still have a job to do as long as we still have the breath of life.  Lately it hasn’t been my choice to live, and I find myself just going through the motions by doing the various activities with less feeling than I should.  So, although it isn’t my choice to live or die, it is up to me to choose how I live my life.  I can choose to live in my grief and be sad, thinking how much I miss Joey.  That pain within me is my selfish desire to hold him and to love him and to do for him once again.  But since that can never be, and it is contrary to the life God wants for me I need to work on making another choice.  The Creator doesn’t choose for us.  The choice to follow His lead is just that – a choice.  So, do I accept what God has asked of me?  Living in the light of giving my purpose over to doing good for others and sharing God’s love is the right choice.  Isn’t that the Great Commission – to love others and share God’s love with them?  Selfish creatures we are, it is so hard to look outside to the needs of others.

But we crafters do just that, at least on a small scale I believe.  Like sewing for my granddaughter.  And making cards to send to people.

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I think this will make a nice note card to write a message in.  I used watercolor pencils on the scene (Sarasota Stamps) and used patterned paper from K&Company, as well as some Stampin’ Up! card stock – pink pirouette and so saffron.

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And here is another little Easter card using yellow, pear and pink.  Loving that Pear Pizazz ribbon.  The shapes were cut with Spellbinder dies.