I have received two issues so far, and there is only one word for the way I feel when I read these. CONVICTED. And it’s not an entirely pleasant feeling either.
The first one was about how we are building a tape in our children’s minds. Basically the point was that everything we say to our children is creating a tape that will be replayed over and over. The final point was this: “Take a moment and think about the tape you’re creating in your child’s head. Is it the one you want them to remember?”
Last night’s tip was called Enjoying Your Child’s World. In it, parents are encouraged to honor their children by participating in activities or conversations that interest the child — as opposed to expecting them to fit into your interests or desires.
This is an area I struggle with tremendously. I do not like to play. Even as a babysitter in college, I remember an employer telling me that she had recommended me to a friend and that she told her friend, “She’s not one to play, but she’s great with the kids, and she will often read to them and bake with them.” That pretty much summed it up.
I am much the same kind of parent as I was babysitter. I do not play. I do not color. I do not do messy crafts. I DO allow my kids to cook with me, but even that is a chore. And now that I have two little angels vying for my counter space, I’m more likely to say, “No, not this time.”
In other words, I realize that I spend time with my kids, but on my terms.
The other side of the coin is conversation. The author of the article pointed out that making time to talk about the things they want to talk about is also important. I have a friend who is fond of saying, “We spend the first two years of their lives trying to get them to walk and talk and the next 16 trying to get them to sit down and shut up.” And I always giggle, because HOW TRUE IS THAT!?
But I want to make an extra effort to listen to them when they want to talk to me, to turn away from whatever I’m doing and engage with them. If I want them to listen to me when I have something important to say, perhaps listening to them is a good start.
The information in the article isn’t necessarily news to me; I doubt many of the parenting tips are going to be huge epiphanies, but I really need these daily reminders. Hopefully they will be the kick in the tush I need to make some changes that will benefit my children and our family over the long haul.
I have a feeling I will be referring to these daily tips often in the upcoming weeks.