Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Moms, Dads, Please Read

     My 6 year old had a little run-in with a classmate today. The other girl wasn't treating Ella very nicely. Her offense got her sent to the office where she had to write Ella an apology note. In it, she wrote "I am rilea sarea! (really sorry)." She said some other things to make amends, but then she went on to break my heart. She stated "Ella! Quoot  Allison! uglea" (Ella, cute, Allison, ugly). I was so sad for this very pretty little girl. She is not ugly at all, but for some reason, her bad choice in how she treated Ella made her call herself ugly. Where did this precious kindergartner get the idea that she was ugly? Who sent her that defective message?
     This incident reminded me of the words of Nobel Prize winning author Toni Morrison: "When a kid walks into the room... does your face light up? That's what they're looking for. When my children used to walk in the room when they were little, I looked at them to see if they had buckled their trousers, or if their hair was combed... You think your deep love and affection is on display because you're caring for them. It's not. When the kids see you, they see the critical face: "What's wrong now?" Then, if you let your face speak what is in your heart when they walked in the room... (I'm glad to see you). It's just as small as that."
     Sometimes I forget to live life this way. Too many days my dialogue is all about "Clean your room, stop running in the house, sit down, keep your hands to yourself, if it's not yours don't touch it, why aren't you cleaning your room, be quiet, have you done your homework, go brush your teeth, let's go, I don't have time, why is your room still not clean!" It's not that I don't encourage my kids but I want to make sure the scale tips way on the side of  love and affection.    
     I think of Ms. Morrison's words often. And when I do I make the effort to show my kids through my eyes that I love them and I'm glad to see them.  They need to get that message from me.
     I don't know much about Allison's home life. All I know is that somehow faulty thinking got through to this poor little girl. I hope she can hear from someone how valuable and beautiful she is, because she is far from ugly, but I don't think she believes that.


Lisa S. said...

Wow. That was an eye opener for me. I am sitting here crying and hearing what you said. I also need to say less about what they did wrong and more of what they have done right. "eyes light up" WOW. Mine are still little and I hope I have time to make new habits that will last their lifetime. Thank you
Teary Lisa

Just Karen said...

Well said Shane. I have raised 2 and am still raising one. I know without a doubt I did not speak enough words of affirmation and encouragement. It wasn't that I didn't say nice things, I just know I could have said more. Now, I find myself realizing I am doing it again with my 8 year old. We think that not saying negative things is enough, or by not constantly drawing attention to what is wrong will be enough. It's not. Our kids NEED to hear the positive words, the encouragement, the simple words of "I LOVE YOU."

thanks Shane for reminding us