Todd was the youngest in a family of 5 boys. He suffered extreme anxiety and was socially withdrawn. His parents referred to him and his siblings as “the boys” or “the team.” Instructions began with, “Listen up team!” and they had a weekly planner called “The Team Trainer.”
All of “the boys” were enrolled in the same sports and required to participate. All activities were intensely competitive with only the winner receiving any praise.
Todd rarely recalled being called by his first name. He didn’t begin to speak until he was four years old. He attributed this to having so many older brothers already talking!
Being one of “the boys” had been incredibly painful for Todd who did not enjoy competitive activities or the sports chosen for the family.
Not surprisingly he lacked confidence. Sadly, Todd believed he was a nobody and that no-one would miss him if he was gone. He had missed one of the most important experiences families are supposed to give: validation of his uniqueness.
Have you ever noticed that flowers need space between them to be appreciated?
If you clump a thousand spectacular blossoms into a vase you will get an overall “Ohhhh…” impact but….the beauty of each individual flower in the thousand is mainly lost.
We have to focus on a single bloom to truly see its full beauty.
This is why people need families.
The individual gets lost in the thicket of the workplace, the bouquet of the town, the vast meadow of the globe yet each individual is totally and utterly unique.
That uniqueness was never meant to be lost or unseen.
“Your” child holds a special beauty to you, different from “all children” in part because you know and see their uniqueness.
They are not “just” one of the species progeny, the global population of children, they are a unique bloom in your home and life. Because you have truly seen and known them they are irreplaceable to you.
Can you imagine forgetting your own child? They are not just an insignificant part of a big blob of humanity to us. They are unforgettable!
All human beings need this experience of being unforgettable, irreplaceable and cherished. Children need families so that their uniqueness can be fully seen, validated and experienced. This gives them confidence.
- If you gift them with your focus you will gift them with the knowledge they are unique.
- If you seek to truly know them as individuals you gift them with the knowledge that they are valuable.
- If you seek to really appreciate them you gift them with the knowledge they are lovable.
- If you wonder at who they are, you gift them with the knowledge that they are amazing beings that are emerging and growing.
Just for today allow yourself to see your child with new eyes.
Allow yourself to observe them with curiosity about the unknown. Curiosity about all the layers of their unique self you haven’t seen yet.
You can notice what they are drawn to and what repels them.
You can notice their moods, their reactions, what delights or dismays them.
You can gently ask them their thoughts and opinions and watch their eyes as they speak.
In all of these ways we interact with the edge of the deep unknown, the self that is emerging.
When we watch in this way we watch with care.
Observing with love is one way we help to build our child’s confidence.
In some ways watching at this level is like watching a wild and rare animal in its natural habitat.
You want to watch quietly and carefully. It is best to create a space that doesn’t intrude on the child’s natural self and not to fill the watching with an adult agenda of questions and demands.
Beauty is observable not forcible.
It can be such a relief to just seek to know your child rather than have to mold, carve and shape them in every interaction! Thankfully a child is an unfolding bloom, not a Halloween pumpkin!
Have confidence in the power of the love and attention you have to give.
“Please consider me,” is the cry of each human soul. May you get to see more of your child’s unique self today!
With care, Dr. T.
NB: If you want to look at knowing through your child’s eyes you may want to check out my “Powerful Sight: Soul Windows” board on Pinterest ! http://www.pinterest.com/powerful4kids/powerful-sightsoul-windows/
Photo Credits in order: © Depositphotos.com/Bloodua; Yaruta; handmademedia;Shkolnik; Beerkoff1;Hackman.