The smaller the child the greater the lesson. Connor is almost 20 months old. He has been blessing me with his presence for the past 5 days while his mom was away at a business retreat. We spent many beautiful hours together, and I learned many valuable lessons from him.
First, it is important to understand the responsibility of parenting and grand-parenting. Between the ages of conception and five years old, we, as their caregivers, are influencing the way they will think, speak and act. We have a direct influence on how their brains will be programmed throughout life. Parenting and grand-parenting is a very important charge that requires thoughtful consideration.
Connor clearly showed me how easily I was influencing him the other day. This is what I realized:
While reading one of his (and my) favorite books, If You Give a Pig a Party, we came to the page where all the animal friends are riding on bumper cars. Connor easily pointed out Pig and Moose, Dog and Kitty. He knew all of them well. For some reason, he had a problem relating to Fox. When he heard me say, “Where is Fox,” he was unable to remember who he was thereby pointing to the wrong animal friend. I was programmed to respond with a smile, “No.. that is not Fox!”
It did not take long to recognize a problem. By the second reading, when I asked, “Where is Fox,” Connor showed signs of nervousness. More importantly, when I gave my usual reply, Connor felt upset with himself. Had he done something wrong? Did he fail? Of course, he did not literally speak those words; however, his body language spoke them clearly that he felt disappointed in his inability to perform properly.
With this information at my disposal, I decided to change my approach to teaching. The next time we read, “If You Give a Pig a Party,” and we came across the bumper car page, I asked my usual question, “Where is Fox?” As soon as I felt his energy shifting toward nervousness, I cautiously moved my finger next to Fox. Connor immediately took notice and proudly pointed right at Fox! My reply was, “Yes, that is Fox!” Connor’s big smile confirmed the importance of that moment. As he was learning to recognize Fox, he was also learning the feeling of confidence!
This moment made me realize how early we are programming our babies to feel failure and disappointment. My intention was to teach Connor who Fox was without any negativity attached to it. If I had not felt his feelings while we were reading, I may have continued to unconsciously teach him these emotions. Although not my intention, it may very well have been the outcome.
I will continue to listen to Connor’s energetic shifts to help me learn healthy grand-parenting techniques. Every lesson he shares helps me become a more insightful teacher.