Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Never Forget

The humiliation of making a comment and a whole roomful of people rolling their eyes; the elation of receiving a coveted award; the frustration of being punished by a teacher for something another student did; the pride felt at a father's sincere praise; the comfort of a mother's hand on a forehead; the terror of being separated from a parent in an unfamiliar place; the acceptance of a warm hug: these are just a few of the things I never want to forget. Some of these emotions were mine over 20 years ago. Some of them were not pleasant. Some of them inconsequential. Why would I want to remember them now? Now I am a parent. I have children feeling some of the same emotions. I remember the intensity of those feelings. I also remember many adults misunderstanding or dismissing those emotions.

Dr. James Dobson says that the best secret of parenting is to get behind a child's eyes. See what they see and feel what they feel and you will be able to figure out what is causing their behavior.
I'm not a psychologist, but I have been a child. When my child acts out in anger, instead of retaliating in anger, I can remember my indignation at injustice and help them learn to deal with it in a Biblical manner. When they retreat to their room in tears, I can remember the pain of rejection and humiliation by a friend and give them empathetic comfort. I can shower them with the love, acceptance and touch that I received as a child and that gave me the affirmation I needed to face the tough times.

Yes, I can and I choose to get behind their eyes and never forget.

What memories do you have that you don't want to forget in your parenting?

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