Monday, June 20, 2011

How children learn their value


Sometimes images stick with us our whole lives.  I have kept this photo of Diana and her boys in my memory from the first time I saw it.  I believe they were in Canada at the time and Diana had spent the day away from her children.  Look at how happy she is to see them and how they are rushing to her.  I remember seeing the video of this moment on the news when I was a teenager and my subconscious tucked it away until the moment my own son would need his mommy to teach him what his value is.

Children learn value by how we look at them.  How we speak to them.  Whether we are happy to see them or not.  Look at those boys in this photo - do we think they feel their mother valued them?

I get very upset when I see children being spoken to like they are garbage and so often I want to say something to the parents, give them something to chew on, take home and mull over.  Make them see they are damaging these amazing little people who come into the world full of hope, blank slates we can mold to our own liking.  A kind word goes a long way.  But, we know WT doesn't often respond well to being told they might be less than perfect so I tend to keep quiet and smile at the children.  Hoping they see there is more out there for them.  

Toni Morrison summed it up when she told Oprah...
"When my children used to walk in the room, when they were little, I looked at them to see if they had buckled their trousers or if their hair was combed or if their socks were up, you think your affection and your deep love is on display because you're caring for them. It's not. When they see you, they see the critical face. But if you let your face speak what's in your heart...because when they walked in the room, I was glad to see them. It's just as small as that, you see."

My in-laws were babysitting a few months ago and they brought stickers and coloured paper for the Little Prince to play with.  When we came home my mother-in-law told me one of the stickers is a happy face and the Little Prince kept saying 'That's mommy!'.  She said she was impressed he associates a happy face with his mommy when most children would think their mommies are always unhappy, critical, grumpy.  I make a conscious effort to smile and look happy when the Little Prince walks in the room, comes to me with a drawing, asks a question or any other little thing he does four. thousand. times a day, no matter how I am feeling, what I am thinking or what he might be interrupting.  Because of the picture of Diana.  I wish my mother had ever looked so happy to see me.  I wish I had ever felt the love oozing out of this photo.  I make sure my son feels that every single day

The Little Prince has taken to throwing his arms around my legs exclaiming, 'I love my mommy!!!'.

I consider that the best performance review I have ever had.


Have a fabulous day!

15 comments:

Glitterista said...

I loved Toni Morrison's explanation of how to let your children know they're loved through your actions. Thank you for sharing this piece. :)

hostess of the humble bungalow said...

The little prince has a wonderful mummy!
Love and happiness start at home.

In Real Life said...

I love that photo of Diana and her boys! I was deeply affected by Toni Morrison's interview on Oprah when I saw it, and have adopted it as one of my guiding principles in parenting. I never want my children to doubt how much I love them!

Town and Country Mom said...

This post will bless many moms and children today!

Ms. Bake-it said...

What a great post SP! I have had to bite my tongue many times over the years to not say something to a parent who was belittling their child. I would in no way intimate I was a perfect parent, but I do know I was successful in letting my children know how much I loved them and how happy I was to see them and be with them. They are now 24 and 20 and I still react that way when I see them. I am the same way with my grandson. It is a natural and uninhibited reaction. One day when the boys were very young we were spending the day with a friend and her three children. At one point we gave them crayons and paper so they could draw. Each of the boys drew pictures of our families. In my son's picture I was smiling and hugging my boys. The picture of my friend’s face resembled the face of a grizzly bear roaring. My friend started crying when she saw that picture. It was a wakeup call for her and she kept that picture for years to remind her to be a better parent. One of my aunts was/is a very critical person and more so with her two daughters as they were growing up. My cousins both grew up with extremely low self worth and it really impacted their lives in many ways. I completely agree with you. Parents, no matter their mood or what they are doing, should always express love and happiness to see their children.

~ Tracy

The enchanted home said...

This was so sweet, I too love seeing pictures of Diana with her beloved boys, you can see the love and true affection she has for those boys in her gentle shy smile and kind heart which shows in all of their pictures together. I love what Toni said..so true isn't it? This is a beautiful reminder that its our words and our touch that will make our kids feel loved and cherished, not the clothes, toys or goodies that we can buy them. The best gift comes from our heart and I find this applies not only to our children but to everyone, family and friends too.
I loved this. I will give my kids (big and towering over me that they are) an extra hug because of this post:)

Little Miss Can't Be Wrong said...

what a great picture - and a great post. it made me think of my mom - and while she was always a bit critical of our appearance she always told us it was because she knows we are worth at least a million bucks, so she wants us to look like it, too! when i write it out it seems like she is putting a lot of emphasis on our appearance, but she really didn't.

Adrienne said...

I love that photo - and the message you are spreading today.
I was in a used bookstore the other day. A woman in her mid to late 30's was with her son - about 6 to 8 and his older sister. She was beyond frazzled, huffing and puffing and scolding and threatening her son the entire time. Not one kind word came from her mouth. I felt so badly for that boy. He didn't seem to be doing anything out of the ordinary to me. I looked to see what types of books she was rifling through and thankfully, they were all about parenting! At least she recognizes she needs help. I hope.

Bethany said...

What a lovely picture of yourself ~ with a smile. I gave students a teacher evaluation at the end of the year and was happy to see that many of them wrote that I was always smiling. It made me happy.

Carole said...

I recall Toni Morrison saying that to Oprah and it's stuck w/ me, too. So glad your little Prince loves you so much.

Janice said...

I finally have time to comment on your blog! Amen sister...
Being a teacher I cannot tell you how often I want to tell a parent how not to treat their child. I treat my school children and my own child. I want them to not want to leave me classroom and feel it is their peace, their comfort, their safe place in this world.
I hope that my child felt that at home as she was growing up. I think your prince is very lucky to have his mommy!

Hines-Sight said...

What a great post! LOve your thoughts today. I, too, remember this photo.

Princess Freckles said...

Awww. This post is just so sweet and wise! It seems so obvious, but, you're right, so many people forget to stop and smile at their children and show their love and devotion to them. Kids picks up on these little things so much. I'm so happy he thinks of you as the smiling face!

Teena in Toronto said...

I've always loved this picture! It's so honest.

'LUSH' said...

What a beautiful post! I have posted similar! I love the image of Diana and her two princes! This is what it is all about......being valued, being loved!