Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Crayons of Childhood, Part 2

I can't imagine a child in a world without hugs, music, flowers, books rich with language, beautiful colors, and empathy – my favorite things. On second thought, put empathy first. It is the ultimate positive crayon, the first one out of your crayon box in the early years.

Your child needs two things. She needs to be heard, even before she has language. And she needs to be understood, even when lost in the tears and tensions and tantrums of growing into learning. Can you see yourself coloring her with a gentle stroke of empathy? Empathy listens to a child's feelings to understand them, not to change them. A worthy sense of self grows inside a little one whose feelings and thoughts are honored, center stage. Empathy does that. It opens your child's heart and allows you to handle gently what's inside.

And what about the days when you're exhausted and wonder how you can possibly color a relentless child with a positive crayon? You can. A smile and a hug are ambassadors for empathy, as full of color as a burst of spring green ivy reaching for the top of the wall.

A Colorful Thought: Your child needs to be heard and to be understood. Color her with the gorgeous hues of understanding that never fade.

P. S. What's coming up? Bedtime. I promise you won't want to sleep through it.

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