Bringing up children goes beyond our wildest thoughts about what parenthood means. If the funds are low it is essential to find ways to make save and use our income frugally. Competing for our children’s love by purchasing toys is never a good solution for any parent. Toys should never be used manipulatively as a way to apologize for our anger or obtain our children’s love or attention. Our children’s love cannot be bought.
The gift of time should never be underestimated. When children look back on their childhood, they remember how they spent their time with us not what prizes we gave to them.
Counting our physical presence in the home with the child is not meaningful time. At breakfast answer a child’s questions but admit it when you do not have the answers. Sending them into another room or handing them a toy to play with is not an answer. We are dismissing them.
After school children have a hundred thoughts running through their heads about the day’s events. They need to release these streams of consciousness. Encourage them to talk. We will become privy to a bullying situation, school work problem, friendship issue, fighting incident, fear or anxiety problem that shamed them, fears of insecurity, worthlessness, hopelessness and helplessness to name a few. It is kind of like how we encounter many of our own days. How awesome for a child to realize that mom or dad face the same things each day and understand how they feel.
Ignoring our children because we have had a bad day or we are tired, enhances our child’s frustrations. They must wait until we are feeling good about ourselves. This compounds their difficulties and encourages our children to turn to others in their need. Listening to the happy stories they want to express is as important as hearing their tribulations. Children want their parents to be proud of them. They do not always think that we are proud of them, especially when we spend a lot of time criticizing them, or putting them off.
It is essential to listen to our child’s story even if it is time spent with the other parent.
“Sometimes the people whom we've known for only a short amount of time have a bigger impact on us than those we've known forever.” Maya Angelou
One young girl and boy were very good friends. The young girl, named Tanya was extremely efficient and confident and always willing to speak for another child. The boy, named Tom, was rather quiet and reserved. At school Tanya spoke for Tom most of the time with Tom’s permission. Although Tanya was always efficient in all areas of her school life, she was unaware of her own body’s needs.
Tanya was burdened with a mother in jail and a father without a job. Tanya’s father attempted to get a job but was defeated with every attempt. It often appeared that Tanya was taking care of him instead of the other way around. Although the teacher had to admit he tried and he did love Tanya very much.
One day when Tom and Tanya were working together on a project at school, the teacher overheard them talking. “Tanya, how come you always smell bad?” asked Tom innocently. Tanya wide eyed and muddled answered, “I don’t know Tom.” The next day Tanya came to school with clean clothes and a freshly scrubbed body. She smiled at Tom who always smiled back in return. Nothing was said but a tremendous amount of knowledge had transpired between them.
Tom received the help most of the time in any given situation. Intuitively, on that particular day, Tom was the giver of aid. He will never know what a tremendous gift he .gave to his young friend Tanya. Before the Holiday break at school, Tanya came into the classroom with a crumpled brown bag decorated in many colors. It was folded down and sealed with a crinkled piece of tape which was also holding a small candy cane. She immediately gave it to Tom whose entire face lit up with the surprise. Inside was a small car which Tom turned over and over in his hands. “I got it from my cereal box,” she explained. Tom flung his arms around Tanya and screeched, “You are the bestest friend anyone could ever have.” Tanya looked as happy as Tom. The power of love subdued the class and filled the teacher’s eyes with tears. We may never know how much warmth and love we have given another by a simple gesture of thought and kindness. The ripples from such an act infinitely spread throughout eternity.