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connection

There’s something about a touch on the shoulder – there’s something about hearing one’s name said – there’s something about waiting for that person to look up – and there’s really something to be said for being heard.

Who hasn’t tried yelling from the kitchen – “time to pick up your toys”.  Who hasn’t checked their emails or face book while telling your child from across the room that it’s time to get ready for bed – or “stop teasing your sister.

And who hasn’t thought “My child never listens to me.”

Of course the other side of this coin is – do we listen to our children – with our eyes and ears and response?

So can we change things?

Well – actually pretty easily,  if we’re ready and willing.

We can start by being aware, being open, being responsive when we talk to our child and by limiting our personal distractions during those busy kids’ times.

You’ll see the change I bet  – you’ll probably think, well that did make a pretty big difference.

And I’m sure your child will feel the difference too.

It’s called connection.

It works.

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in the middle

I was the youngest of six children – six children in nine years – so, yes, I believe my mom was very busy.

I probably didn’t get a whole lot of pure 1-1 time with my mom – but I know for certain I did from all my siblings.

And that’s the way, I think, it pretty much does work in a big family – perhaps that’s actually the beauty of it.

There were three boys at the playground recently – three brothers – two older ones about nine years old and seven years old – and a little one about two years old.

It was a very busy afternoon at the park, and there was much activity on the play equipment.  Apparently the older boys knew it was their job to watch out for their younger brother.

But, it was the middle brother that caught my heart, dutifully fulfilling his job to watch and help his brother.

Finally I overheard him saying to his older brother as he zoomed by – “It’s your turn to be responsible now  – I came to the playground to have some fun too!”

What a sweet conscientious boy!

He eventually did get his turn to be the seven- year- old he was, as his older brother took over his post.

But it made me think of him again when I heard that Middle Child Day is coming up on Sunday, August 12th.

Who even knew there was such a day?

But glad of it – for this reliable young middle brother – for my own middle-child siblings – and all the middle siblings out there who are so comfortably loved and relied on  –  in every family – and very special indeed.

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our best

In talking with some friends recently who were off to visit other mutual friends, I heard myself saying “give them our best”.

And later on, I thought about this very common idiom that we hear shared so often.

And I realized the actual power behind it.

Because giving others your best would be a significantly meaningful gift.

On Sunday afternoon at Riverside Park,   The Compassionate Community Faith Alliance held the first Annual People Fest.  It was a multicultural celebration with food, music, dance, theater, dress, and information from many different organizations and cultural groups – spreading understanding, appreciation, and trust.

The Parenting Place joined in.  And we focused on providing the universal language and power of Play for the children who attended – entertaining them with hands-on activities that needed no interpretation.

And for this 1st Annual People Fest … the people showed up.

It was a wonderful turn-out of all ages – a positive response from our community to share, support and connect with one another.

“Give them our best.”

I believe that message was loud and clear on Sunday afternoon at Riverside Park.

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a miracle moment

A miracle moment – that’s what the broadcaster called it as the last of the twelve young soccer players and their coach in Thailand were rescued from a cave after more than two weeks.

Who wouldn’t agree with this reporter’s choice of words – a miracle moment for sure.

That got me to thinking about miracle moments.

Are they always as sensational as this rescue was – or are there more daily mini miracle moments we could personally notice and celebrate.

I don’t meant to trivialize miracles, but think about it – look around you – all of nature is a wondrous miracle – a beautiful sunset, a summer breeze, those huge snow flakes falling, the first wail of a newborn infant entering the world, a small child’s hand reaching up to take your own.

Of course, these smaller daily miracle moments are apt to be missed – in our haste and preoccupation.

But if we open our eyes, our ears – and I guess, mostly our hearts – we will be amazed at these mini miracle moments that surround us.

As parents – I know – we sometimes think it is a miracle if we all get out of the house on time – or the children are actually asleep for the night.

So – count it – count whatever makes you notice feeling grateful –  blessed – loved – joyful – wondrous – whatever makes you …“feel“.

It will be a miracle.

 

 

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a pajama walk

It has been pretty darn hot lately, right?

And with the heat and high humidity, we often end up spending more time inside to stay cool. That’s not the way most of us want to spend a summer day.

And then when bedtime approaches, you might find that your children still have some extra energy to burn off – or just need a calming change of scene – some time to unwind before bed.

That’s what Theo and his mom decided on one of these hot and sultry evenings.  And so they took a pajama walk.

A pajama walk – I love the idea of it!

Alright – I admit – I have gone out for the newspaper – in my pajamas – but that just does not qualify as a pajama walk.

A real pajama walk takes place after relaxing in the bath,  putting on cool pjs, and walking with a special person –  to talk, to laugh, to connect.

The temperature might still be warm, but the sun is setting, and there’s a special peace in the neighborhood.

A special moment for a mom and her boy.

Try one.

 

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sibling rivalry

I’ve heard sibling rivalry described as not rivalry between sibling and sibling, but actually between sibling and parents.

Hmmm!  That’s something to think about.

It does make sense though.  Children always want their parents’ attention – and so when they hit their sibling, take toys away, shut them our of their room, tease them  to tears – that’s what they get – their parents’ attention.

Negative attention for sure – and then …nobody really feels like they won.

So is there any easy answer?

Well, we could start by noticing and commenting when the siblings are actually enjoying each other, or helping one another, or sharing, or protecting. Just a quick comment, “nice job”, a high five, a wink , a quiet thank you as you kiss goodnight.

It might be that you have to really search at first for the smallest positive interaction.

But if you pay attention – if you begin to notice – something small just might turn into something significant… like sibling friendship.

It’s definitely there – but sometimes children just need their parents to help them find it.

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instinct

Conversing with a young boy of almost five years old on Friday at Play Shoppe, I listened as he told me what he knew about dinosaurs.

And then he wrapped it up by sharing that dinosaurs “are ‘distinct’‘astinct’I mean ‘instinct’ “ he finally decided upon as he slipped off to play.

I enjoyed that.

And so I have been thinking about instinct.

As parents, we often hear the question, “what’s your instinct telling you?” For instinct is our natural intuitive response. It’s when you know in your heart – in your gut – what you should do.

Of course, it doesn’t mean you don’t seek professional help when needed, or advice from friends.  But it’s listening and sorting out what works for you and your family.

I see this often in “seasoned parents” who have weathered through many a challenging decision  with their children and find now they are more confident to trust and listen to their internal compass.

So the next time you are faced with a new parenting situation and you’re trying earnestly –  like my young friend –  to choose exactly the right word – the right response – take some time.

And listen to – and trust your instinct.

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