There’s something very personal and connecting when you take a child’s hand.
I don’t believe anyone who has held a small child’s hand – on a walk together – ever really forgets the feeling of trust and closeness it conveys.
But often we forget those moments in the busy throes of parenthood. And perhaps we more often recall grabbing a child’s hand wildly to keep him from running in the street – or moving him along quickly to the car without distractions.
But – I’m just reminding you to watch for those sweet moments of parenting – the trustful, hopeful, expectant gazes our child gives us, the “right, Dad?” you might get from a 6-year-old looking for shared agreement – the quick “bump into” from your high school boy that reminds you he’s still wants to connect – the siblings running hand in hand down the sidewalk – two brothers sitting close, cozy on the couch – watching a video..
There are so many moments.
But in our busy minute to minute days – it’s easy to miss them. But when you do “catch” them – really feel them – you’ll know .
These are the moments in our lives, our parenting lives, that make all the difference.
I think it’s called love.
Recently going through a stash of old files – looking for something I couldn’t find – I found a note that said When…then.
It was written on the back of a day’s schedule from one of the very first professional trainings I had attended as a Parent Educator many years ago.
And I was glad to see “when/then” again – such a simple answer to so many situations we find ourselves in with children. Begging, pleading, whining to do something – go somewhere- eat something – play something – could be simply answered “When -then”.
“When you put your boots on, then we can go out in the snow.”; “When you clean up your room, then you can go to your friend’s:”;” When you finish your homework, then we can play a game”; “When you ask politely, then you can have a turn”.
Fast forward to years of listening and sharing with parents – to myself as a parent – so many suggestions and insights and philosophies learned, considered and offered, I kind of left “when/then” behind.
But it still works – delivered with a kind tone and positive outlook. I believe I could even use it for myself.
“When you finish writing this blog, then you can have a piece of Valentine candy”.
Works for me!
What a glorious blue sky,, sunshiny day I notice blazing in on me as I sit down to write my weekly blog. But step outside – even for a few moments – and the frigid below-zero wind chill will hit you immediately.
So, you see, how easy to be fooled by just the bright sunny sky without knowing the rest of the story.
And that’s often the case with friends and family who might well wear a sunny face on the outside but could actually be struggling emotionally on the inside. During this challenging time our country is going through, there are many more people who are struggling in so many ways.
So be attentive when we inquire “how are you doing?” – be genuine when you ask it – especially if you suspect there’s more behind the smile. Don’t be fooled by a “oh you know”, “pretty good, I guess”. We might be missing the rest of the story – and by listening, you are offering a true gift of friendship and caring.
Coming up is Valentine’s Day on February 14th. Why not reach out this week to a sibling, a neighbor, your long- distance “bestie”, a child – and check on their heart – while sharing your own.
And – from my heart to yours – I wish you a Happy and sunny Valentine’s Day, my Friends.
And remember – The Parenting Place is always there to hear “the rest of your story”.
Some days it’s just picture perfect!
That was yesterday as we walked through Myrick Park with Tootsie.
The main hill and the other two hills on either side were filled with sledders – all in their brightly colored snow jackets and hats – squealing with joy and delight as they zoomed down the hill. Sometimes sleds were connected, landing in a heap at the bottom of the hill – other sledders attempted to slide down backwards, just because … and still others aimed for the “Bump” for an extra dose of excitement!
Then there was also the brother and his little sister, I assume, that caught my eye – going up and down on their saucers. Zoom! At the bottom, the brother would wait and then carry his younger sister’s saucer up for her.
Generosity, patience, and love – personified – on a perfect sledding day!
And it’s all about the fun and the memories these children are creating on a day at the hill. And I can say that for sure – as memories of my younger days of sledding were definitely joyfully mirrored back to me!
And you know what else?
These children will return to their warm homes hungry, tired, relaxed – the best of the best images and joy in their minds, souls and bodies. And that’s the most meaningful part!
I know it gave me confidence – and a feeling of peace – that in this anxious period we find ourselves in, some things never change – that friendships during childhood are strong and significant – that playing together on a perfect hill – on a perfect on-top-of-the–world winter day – is the epitome of freedom, of childhood, of joy!
Thanks for the memories!