I talked recently with a mom who shared that she was struggling with her 5-year-old son who doesn’t always listen – especially when asked to pitch in to help, get ready to go, wash up, stop doing this or that.
And we acknowledged that this was a work in progress – as are all changes in behavior – for both children and parents.
But something else this parent said really jumped out at me.
When telling her child something she wanted him to do recently, he responded “If I do it, will you give me a compliment?”
Aha! I thought. Maybe that’s the answer – maybe this young boy is actually in need of a bit more acknowledgment, encouragement, appreciation – something to empower him.
Maybe he was feeling discouraged.
He wasn’t asking for a prize, candy, or money – just being noticed.
Perhaps such positive attention could change the “role” he’s chosen to play – could turn his negative reaction into a positive response – by receiving a compliment – by feeling worthwhile, by being recognized.
We all understand that.
Most people who know me realize how much I love trees – bark – sticks. I love the sight of them, the feel of them, the warmth of them.
I have my own personal collection of sticks that remind me of different kinds of animals. I’ve had “bark” and special sticks left on my desk at work – from someone(s) who thought of me when coming upon a treasure they knew I would appreciate.
When I think about why – and how this passion for trees developed, I go back to the very large maple tree that graced our side yard as a child – where I played daily around its roots sticking up from the ground – embracing the trunk as I stepped from root to root circling around the tree.
It was shady under which to play “house” with my dolls – or drive my toy cars up and over the hilly roots – then place them in the niches that made perfect parking spaces.
It was a beautiful very special spot.
So there’s no surprise that the new Bandshell at La Crosse’s Riverside Park has won my heart.
Eighteen white oak trees form the arches of this new structure. You have to see it to experience its natural, majestic beauty.
In this world of noisy computerized games, images, exchanges, glitz – how fortunate we are in La Crosse to have this magnificent display for our children to see – to remember – for the whole community to appreciate and admire the strength, power, beauty and serenity these white oak trees add to our new Bandshell at Riverside Park.
Yes – let’s celebrate the trees!
Who doesn’t want that feeling of being included – a part of a group – a part of a family – a part of the plans.
A mom who recently moved to this area from a very long distance was sharing that when she and her husband were making their moving plans and finalizing the details together, their young 3 -year-old, listening nearby, spoke up hopefully, “Can I come too?”
This mom felt terrible that he would ever feel so left out about such a big move.
Not taking anything for granted, however, this little guy thought he’d better speak up.
Our children really do want to know how and where they fit into our plans – whether it is a big move, a week-end trip, a night at Grandma’s, or a morning baby-sitting- exchange with a friend.
But, certainly, telling your child too much too soon – before details are worked out – can be confusing and stressful.
Best to wait till plans are set for sure. Then the news can be shared at the dinner table for all to hear – quietly at bedtime – while taking a walk – giving a child a bath – over breakfast – whenever there is time and space to share and answer questions.
This kind of inclusion lets everyone – little to big – know “they can come too“.