Earlier this week I was outside with Stegosaurus (2yo). He wanted to play basketball (Which basically amounted to handing the ball back and fourth over and over again)
As we played my mind was racing. There were a million “more important” things that I needed to be doing. Cleaning out the car, cleaning the house, picking up the yard, fixing broken things, calling to get our broken kindle replaced before the warranty expired. And after handing the ball back to him for about the fifth time, I was tempted to ask him if he was ready to be done, and go do something else. But I didn’t.
How can I expect him to be able to dedicate himself to any task if he is constantly interrupted? How will he learn to focus if my attention span only lasts 30 seconds? How will he grow to be patient if I am can’t even stop for 5 minutes to play basketball?
So I regrouped, put my seemingly urgent thoughts aside, and played some basketball til he was satisfied (Which honestly didn’t take very long)
I’m always going to have a laundry list of things that need to get done. But I am not always going to have an opportunities to bond with my young son, and that is something I need to learn to cherish.
“Even though you try to put people under control, it is impossible. You cannot do it. The best way to control people is to encourage them to be mischievous. Then they will be in control in a wider sense. To give your sheep or cow a large spacious meadow is the way to control him. So it is with people: first let them do what they want, and watch them. This is the best policy. To ignore them is not good. That is the worst policy. The second worst is trying to control them. The best one is to watch them, just to watch them, without trying to control them.” Shunryu Suzuki
Your children will have plenty of people in their lives telling them that they are wrong. They will have no shortage of voices saying “You can’t,” “You’re not good enough,” “You’ll never make it.” There will be enough people telling them to sit down, to shut up, and to give up. To be someone they are not. There will be no lack of negative opinions about their choices.
But if you never say, “I believe in you,” they may never hear it.
If you never say, “I’ll always love you,” they may never believe it.
If you never say, “Keep trying, I know you can do it,” they might just give up.
You can always count on someone else to break your child down, but there may never be anyone else to build them up.
The words you say to your child become the voice that they hear inside themselves for the rest of their lives. Choose your words wisely.