A friend shared a story with me of his young 8-year-old grandson who asked him recently “where do our thoughts go? I think about something and then it goes away – yet often the same thought comes back again later – I wonder where did it go while it was away?
Needless to say, my friend’s grandson is thoughtful and quite wise for his young age – for any age.
But … what do they say …“out of the mouth of babes” – we can often learn, often realize, often ponder.
This morning I went to the last session of my 4-week group on Wisdom -through the Ages at The Franciscan Spirituality Center and I believe all of us there were very sorry to see it end.
It is a very special gift to meet ten other people whom you don’t know at all and then throughout the sessions talk, share, reveal, and connect with each other on such a very honest and personal level – about age, about trust, about gratitude, about experiences, about life.
And so we were all touched by each other’s sharing and, yes, their wisdom.
And I believe it reminded me once again of my friend’s young grandson’s question.
Where had the thoughts and sentiments, questions and reveals our group of “strangers” shared over our times together – where did they go during the days in between – when other thoughts and things to do occupied our minds.
But here’s what I think. I think – perhaps – they’re resting- resting in our hearts – just waiting to be shared, just waiting to be understood.
We talk about it – hang posters – form committees- know better – yet bullying continues and more often than not, right in our own school cafeterias.
So when I saw recently this Capri Sun commercial on TV – I was totally ready to run right out and purchase some Capri Sun pouches just because.
Because … they are addressing this problem of bullying and exclusion head-on with a short, no-nonsense ad that delivers the point. And the point is that it takes a simple dose of courage and power – “power” not unlike what their own Capri Sun pouch says it offers – to change the equation.
In the ad, when a young boy comes to join a group of others at a school cafeteria table, one of the boys at the table smacks his hand down hard at the empty space and sneers up at the boy – who then retreats to a table by himself.
Now for the action … a young girl witnessing this incident, takes a sip of her Capri Sun – says to her friend “Hold my pouch” and jumps into motion rearranging the tables in the lunch room into one huge rectangular table so no one need sit alone.
A together table!
All are included – no one gets turned away.
I am not usually so enthusiastic about ads – but every once in awhile -one delivers a message so poignantly that it deserves to be watched – to be talked about, to be given attention.
In today’s world where rudeness and bullying seem to appear within all ages and all levels of society, we need to provide our children with opportunities to learn, feel, connect and believe that kindness and civility matter.
Okay – so I haven’t actually run out yet to buy any Capri Suns – but when I do – I’ll think of the power that young girl displayed – as she noticed something that needed to be changed – took a big sip – said “Hold my pouch” and did it!
A together table!
I don’t want to say this – but – it’s almost too hot to write!
Actually – too hot to do much of anything.
But with children around, that’s not an option – as we all know.
So let’s declare a heat holiday!
Included in this heat holiday is definitely water! Water to drink (for sure), water to get wet with (yes!), water to fill up the wading pool – water for children to wash trucks, bikes and ride’em toys, water from sprinklers to cool off and run under.
On a heat holiday – it’s good to find shade – as much shade as possible! Sitting on a blanket under the shade of a very leafy tree and reading books together, in my opinion, is definitely a very cool thing to do!
A heat holiday should also be a vacation from cooking big meals – definitely! How about sandwiches, yogurt, salads – fruit – easy foods that cool and refresh. Cold watermelon – perfect! Popsicles a treat!
And did I mention a heat holiday often calls out for a long nap.
But the most important thing about a self-imposed heat holiday is that you get to do whatever it is that you know will make you and your family feel cool, happy, loved, grateful, and secure.
And that’s the coolest thing yet!
Praise publicly – Correct privately.
I found that on a sticky note recently in my scheduling book.
As I recall it was something I read in a flier about work-related behavior – but it resonated with me, because I thought it could be so applicable to parenting also.
How respectful – a tap on your child’s shoulder – “come with me for a second” and between the two of you – make this connection and say what needs to be said.
We’ve all experienced this – out in public – or at a family and friends gathering, when we sense our child’s frustration, stress, needs, excitement escalating.
Perhaps it’s playing too roughly with younger children, or using outdoor voices indoors – or wildly chasing past the adults in the room. Maybe you want to remind an older child to put his/her phone away and be present.
Your child will appreciate not being embarrassed in front of others. For young children, it will provide a few minutes to relax.
It’s modeling respectful behavior as we ask for respectful behavior from them.
So … come with me for a minute.
Something caught my eye recently – and my heart – when I read on-line a remark from a former teacher. (wish I knew her name)
“Boys need to have their shoulders lifted daily.”
She shared that whenever she offered a positive word to a boy in her classroom – she would see his shoulders visibly lift.
“There might be no other reaction – but the shoulder lift happened every time with every boy that I praised.”
And I love that image – that subtle response that this wise teacher caught with her sensitive eye.
The majority of parental concerns shared with me as a Parent Educator are about their boys. And I listen, give suggestions and parenting solutions and tips that might help.
But I also always, always strongly encourage noticing their boy – really noticing – and offering frequent acknowledgment of their boy’s subtle yet caring, positive moments.
We all know boys have a lot of energy, a lot of spunk that needs to be run off, jumped off, laughed off, teased off, yelled off, celebrated!
But look deeply into those eyes – catch those thoughtful moments, fleeting that they may be – those kind and sensitive moments – and quietly acknowledge them.
And just like this insightful teacher – who observed the “shoulder lift “ in the boys in her classroom, look for that same shoulder lift in your own boy.
And try to remember her priceless advice “Boys need to have their shoulders lifted daily”.