Monthly Archives: November 2016

noticing

I love to observe people – most certainly children – when I am out and about – shopping, restaurants, waiting rooms.

It is a most enjoyable pastime – a learning, emotionally rich experience – because a glimpse into a stranger’s life can invoke understanding, joy, empathy, respect, happiness, hope.

So, while having breakfast out with my husband, we sat next to a large table of eight senior women – along with a younger woman and one boy of about ten or eleven years old.

It was a birthday breakfast outing I know,  as eventually the birthday cake with candles lit appeared.  There was much chattering and laughing exchanged among the group.  But my real focus was this young boy – alone in this sea of matriarchs – and the joyful and attentive manner in which he participated.

There was no scowling or sighing, no electronic device for entertainment – just a pleasant face on a young boy –  honoring what I assume may have been his grandmother and her friends/relatives gathered to celebrate her birthday.

I found his manner so refreshing, so unusual actually – so lacking in dramatic sighing, or “look at me”,”I’m so bored”“I want to go” attention-getting  behavior.

This young boy was reflective – watching, listening, smiling, participating, respecting the occasion.

I had to say something to the woman I assumed was his mom.  So on my way out, I stopped and asked her if he was her son.  She smiled and said “yes”.

I didn’t have to tell her how special this boy was.  She already knew as she shook her head in agreement and thanked me sincerely for noticing.

Noticing – and telling people you noticed – brightens everyone’s day.

Just as I’m certain this young boy brightened every one of those senior women’s day, celebrating along with them – this joyful moment of significance.

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ring a bell

I love the sound of a bell ringing. It can mean – and has meant so many different things over the years. But when I saw this story on the national news this weekend, it brought tears to my eyes.

It talked about several major hospitals  where children and adolescents  suffer through grueling chemotherapy sessions.  When a child finishes his/her last session of chemo, it is duly noted. The child pulls the rope to ring a large bell over and over , to the cheers and tears of staff, family and patients.

Now that is truly something to ring a bell about – to celebrate – to be thankful for – to acknowledge.

And it made me stop and think.

For as we approach my favorite holiday of Thanksgiving, maybe I should  try to live up to its name – perhaps ring some bells, figuratively speaking, by paying attention to the things in my life I have to be grateful for – to celebrate.

And then again, maybe – just maybe I’ll open my front door, take out my ol’ school bell and let it peal.

For in the whole scheme of things, I have a lot to be thankful for!

I hope all of you have a very Happy Thanksgiving!

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in our family

“In our family, we …” that’s a good place to start I think when faced with our children’s questions, fears and anxieties about today’s social climate.

“In our family, we …” do what?

Have you voiced and modeled what your family values are -had the conversation of how your family acts and treats all people, even those different from you  – in simple terms – in kind terms, that even the youngest somehow comprehends?

Because so much of how our children respond and what they believe comes from watching how we, as parents, act and believe. It is this trust in their family model that makes children behave the way they do with each other.

And so as parents, we step up, right?  And we find our better selves, – and we share our better selves, our wiser and kinder selves – with the people we encounter in our lives.And our children will be watching – are watching – and modeling what they see, and what they hear.

A simple question to share with our children when faced with making the right decision – whether it’s to say something, to do something, to join in on something is  “Is it kind?”

Three simple words that all of us can use – can rely on as a measure of our behavior within our families, in our schools, in the wider community.

“Is it kind?”

 

 

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two boys

At a park recently, I observed two boys from a distance –  two young toddler boys – two boys who didn’t know each other – their two dads a good distance away, talking together.

One of the little guys had a stick and began tap, tap, tapping at the tree they stood near.  I could see the flicker of interest in the other little boy and he glanced around and found a stick of his own.

Now there were two little boys tap, tap, tapping at the tree – side by side.

And then, one boy reached for the other boy’s stick – both of them holding on tight – me holding my breath – a silent stand-off – what will happen now in this new relationship?

No words were spoken – just a stare-down – then a wordless offer – take my stick, I’ll take yours.

And so it was – two boys pound, pound, pounding now at the tree trunk – two boys stopping, trading sticks – pounding some more, and so it continued, over and over.

I wish I’d had a video of this beautiful interaction totally between two young toddlers.  There was no adult right there to offer input, to tell them “we don’t play with sticks”, or to caution them “be careful” or to monitor the “stick exchange” for them, to tell them, “remember to share”, and then remark on their ensuing play.

These two little guys owned this moment.

They figured out a plan, their play  was enriched.

For me – it was a powerful glimpse into the possibilities that abound if, as parents, we could allow ourselves the time to wait – to observe and trust our children’s  social interactions, to let them unfold independently  before we interrupt, suggest, guide, arrange, comment, fix.

For those two boys, all on their own, grew an inch that day – toward friendship.

Then it was time to leave.  Both boys dropped their sticks and ran off- each to their own dad, each to their own car.

A very fun day at the park.

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