Listen to the Children
I believe that children are little miracles! They are gifts from God to us. Some come through us and some find us through adoption, but they are still gifts. They are little bundles of love and they bring joy to the people around them. They are also very wise, but do we listen and learn from them enough? I don’t think so. If we just took time to observe them more, we could learn so much. Have you ever noticed that children aren’t into yesterday or tomorrow, they stay in the moment. They are aware of the nature around them and their little imaginations create all kinds of things out of whatever is available.
I facilitated a children’s group one time comprised of 5 to 12 year olds. They totally amazed me. I remember one group, Brian (who was 9 years old) started off by telling us that he was in big trouble. He said that a little boy was talking badly about his grandfather and so, “I popped him in the mouth with my fist!” He stated he had gotten suspended for 3 days, but said “he shouldn’t have told lies about my grandfather.” I then asked the group how Brian could have handled the situation differently. Three little hands went up immediately. The first was a little girl who said, “He could have played like he didn’t hear him and walked away.” The second was a boy who said, “He could have tried to talk to him and tell him what he was saying wasn’t true.” The third one, another girl said, “He could have told his teacher and she would have talked to both of them and the fight wouldn’t have happened.” I asked Brian what he thought he would do if this situation came up again and he said, “I think I’ll just walk away and play like I didn’t hear it.” We sat on bean bags in a circle for this group and after group Brian and another boy always volunteered to stack them in the corner for me. While they were doing this, I overheard Brian telling the other boy that a few nights before the doorbell rang and his dad opened the door and walked outside and punched a guy right in the mouth. The boy asked why he did that and Brian said, “I don’t know, but I sure didn’t ask him!” Children mimic their parent’s behavior. I wish all parents would remember that.
I remember when my daughter was 3 y/o I asked her to pick up her toys and she looked at me and said, “When you get little and I get big, I’ll be able to tell you what to do, huh mama?”
I remember when my oldest son was 2 y/o and would come in and ask for a cookie and I would give him one and he would say, ”and one for my Bev” (his sister). He never left her out.
I remember when I got a phone call that upset me and went to my bedroom and shut my door and laid down on my bed to shed some tears. I heard the handle of the door turn and my 4 y/o youngest son crawled up on the bed, started rubbing my back and said, “Mama I just didn’t want you to be alone!” Don’t think that they don’t know when something is wrong.
All of these beautiful memories will always be with me and I believe I learned as much from them as they learned from me.
Years ago a friend gave me a copy of Sophy Burnham book entitled “Angel Letters”. I love this book! The last story in the book is about a 3 y/o year old little girl, who wants her parents to let her be alone with their newborn. Having heard stories about jealous children, they kept telling her, “Not yet.” She was so insistent that they finally agreed. They turned the intercom system on so they could hear what was happening. She went in and approached the crib alone. She came up to the newborn baby, and her parents heard over the intercom, “Tell me about God. I’m forgetting.”
Toni True-Wills, Ph.D.