How often is it the way things are done rather than what is actually done that causes us the most joy or pain? Little things sometimes make the biggest difference.
I recently had a situation where I needed some significant help. I was very fortunate. I received not one, but two very generous offers, almost identical except for one thing.
On paper either offer brought about the same result. Both offers were made out of love, care and generosity and yet, despite all of this there was one unintentional, but fundamental difference. One offer made me feel empowered – it was a symbol of trust and confidence in me. The other left me feeling as if I’d failed and my need of help was a sign of something lacking in me.
Little things sometimes make the biggest difference.
The question this raises for me is when do I inadvertently do this to others and most of all my children? How do I ensure that my approach conveys my faith in them? How do I maintain boundaries and guide them, but also build that sense of value, worth and confidence?
It’s all too easy to do something positive for our children, often at our own expense only to lose that message of love and nurture by how we do it. For example, when we agree to play or help, but add in eye rolls or sighs what do our children hear Equally we take time not just to generically praise our child, but get on their level, be specific and using eye contact how much more powerful is our communication. In the same way a message to our child to explain what needs to be done can become a dictated order or a clear request just by shifting our words or tone.
It’s all too easy to do something positive for our children, often at our own expense only to lose that message of love and nurture by how we do it.
I wish I had all the answers – a set formula would be great, but being a parent is far more of an art than a science. As I negotiate the ups and downs of my own parenting journey and I walk with others on theirs I know that there is no one who gets this right all the time – we’re all human – it’s the main message our children receive most of the time that needs our attention.
If we take time to pause and reflect not only on what we want to happen, but how we want it to happen. If we consider what message our children receive from the way we do things. If we make that extra effort and initiate those small but significant changes then how much does this increase the chance of them hearing and truly grasping the depth of how much love, value and worth they have that drives all that we do for them. This is surely one of the greatest gifts we can give our children.
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