I write blog posts in my head every day but I don’t always make it to the computer to share them.I’ve finally made the time to sit here and all of these bits and snippets are rolling around me mind, eluding true form. It feels like too much effort to try to rope them back in as they have dispersed from the coherent structure of yesterday’s thoughts. The morning hasn’t gone quite the way I thought that it would as I welcomed back each daughter individually from sleepovers last night. Plans are being re-written and there’s confusion about who is going where, when with who and how we’ll meet back up this afternoon. The day has scattered, taking my thoughts and intentions with it.
Camille walked by as I opened this blank post and I asked her what I should write. Ping-pong! since she had a paddle and ball in her hand, of course. I reminded her: I write about parenting, remember? So what do I know about that that other people need to know?
“That kids are important.”
Now obviously, I agree with that and I would bet that all of you do, too. I would take it a step further and argue that it’s critical that kids know it as part of their core beliefs. They are important, even if they are smaller, younger and less experienced than the adults in their lives. With this as a bedrock truth, their sense of wellbeing and strength grows. I thought it might be interesting, though, to find out what Camille thought and asked if I could interview her for this post. She agreed and made the point very clearly and simply. She said in just a few words what I would have tried to demonstrate in a few paragraphs.
Me: Why are kids important?
C: Because they’re fun. Because we can influence other kids, like my sister.
(This is not at all what I expected her to say. It’s very profound as I have discovered the fun my kids bring improves both my mood and our relationship. It also propels them towards learning and finding their interests and place in the world. It’s also true that their values, feelings and actions have an impact on everyone in their lives, especially those little ones who admire the big kids. It’s in this way that they do influence me and others and how we interact, the plans we make and change, the perspectives we gain. Can you see the productive, uplifting cycle that this creates? But what does it mean when a child knows they have this power? Hint: it has nothing to do with them feeling “like the world revolves around them.”)
Me: You know that you are important to me, right?
Me: What do I do that makes you feel that way?
C: You play with me, you give me lots of attention, you take me to parties and activities, you let me do things, you buy me stuff, you sign me up for things, you take me places, you help me do things, you listen to me.
Me: How does it make you feel to know that you are important to me?
C: That you love me, you will cooperate with me and don’t think that I am annoying when I ask for something.
Me: How does that make life easier or better for you?
C: I know that I can just ask you, you won’t get mad at me, that you will be there for me and I can ask you for help. I feel safe.
Me: Can you think of a time that I made you feel important?
C: Right now.
Me: Really? Why?
C: Because it’s just me (here with you) and you are asking me what I think.
It’s that simple.
Kids are important. Know that and don’t be afraid to let them know it. Don’t be afraid to see the power in small gestures- elegant feats of securing relationships now and in years to come.