I always have a pack of colored stars in my desk drawer. I like to add them sometimes in a note to the grandboys – just because – or when I write a quick note to a friend – adding a star for emphasis.
I don’t know how it started – and a pack can last a pretty long time – but I know when I pull open my desk drawer, it makes me happy to see them – red and blue and gold stars – just waiting to find their place – to jazz up an ordinary note – to brighten up the day.
I read something recently that spoke about how we feel about ourselves often depends a great deal on what we think other people are thinking of us – how we did, how we look, how we parent, how we cook, what we choose.
But … what if you had a stash of some of these little stars like mine – wouldn’t it be ultra cool to say to yourself, “you know what? I deserve a star today … me! myself! … for the delicious meal I fixed, the three breaths I took before responding to a very “hangry” child, the planning it took for getting everybody out of the house for the first day of school with no one “losing it” including me – for anything that says “yes!” that says “You did it! “– that says “This counts!”
Star recognition – your own – – accept it with pride!
“You’re a finder!” my husband told me today as I quickly located what he thought was nowhere to be found.
It’s true – I do seem to find things around the house that have been declared nowhere in sight!
I wonder if that’s the role of most moms. It seems we have a sixth sense of where things are – even when they’re not in the place they should be.
So think about it … how often are we called on to find a dolly’s missing sock, a favorite matchbox car desired right this very moment, a special bunny needed at bedtime for sure, a homework paper that was” just here a minute ago”.
And most importantly – as parents – we find our way in parenting our children.
We all know babies do not come with instructions attached. So we watch and we read and we share and we struggle and we grow – and we love – and we figure it out!
Finding our parenting style and core beliefs – on this parenting journey we are on – might not be as immediate as my early morning rescue find for my husband was. But it happens just the same.
Watch for it!” “Oh! there it is!” – that clarity that pops up from time to time – and you realize – yes – you found your own family’s particular parenting pace – your own family’s comfort – and though it may not always be smooth and effortless – remember –” it’s the cracks that let the sunshine in”.
Keep on discovering – and – shining!
(Please always remember The Parenting Place is here to help you along the way!)
This morning in an email to our staff from our Executive Director, she spoke of resilience and how this year has tested our resilience – and the significance resilience plays in all our lives – in times of trouble and in times of hope.
And most of us don’t stop to think about how resilient we’ve been – today – or last week – or last month. We just go ahead – and in our individual ways – do what needs to be done.
We do it because we just do – for our children, our loved ones, our friends, our jobs – our responsibility to all those who need us. And it works because of our strong connections with one another – connections that give us the strength to care, to try, to manage and to – well…. sometimes – to breathe.
And these connections – for me – say it all. And in these challenging times – in these uncharted waters of 2021 – caring, connecting and – yes – resilience is what will see us through.
I remember a person who I worked with many years ago – a teacher – who, whenever children came up to her to ask a question, share something, say hello – she immediately turned to them and gave them her undivided attention – eyes warmly and directly upon them.
And I witnessed the response to this teacher’s power – for myself – and for the children who knew they were valued by her – cared for – listened to.
As parents, we often find ourselves using the most direct eye contact with our children when we are trying to discipline them – to make sure our point is heard – and understood. I get it – who hasn’t? But increasing being more available at other times – a gentler gaze, an interested gaze, a knowing gaze that says ” I’m listening and I care what you have to say” could change the equation.
I think in this digital age when our eyes are often on cell phones and computers, we do need to be more intentional about eye contact with others. And I know how often children have things they want us to hear about – like sometimes constantly. But I wonder – if they felt satisfied with being heard with a parent’s eyes more often – that stronger connection would satisfy and assure them of your caring and interest- and the constant need for attention would lessen.
For nothing says I love you more than focused eye attention when a child or spouse is speaking to you. (and that goes both ways, right?)
Try it – practice it – (you know it makes perfect) and experience the difference it might make – for all of you.