Our fast-paced world produces many casualties. We are often moving so quickly that we deny our children the time that they need to discover who they are. Sometimes we send them mixed messages. We may tell them how important they are to us, but do we truly stop and give them our undivided attention?
Have you ever done this? You ask your young child a question, and you can almost see him forming the answer in his little brain. As soon as he blurts out the essence of his answer, you complete his thought because you’re in such a hurry. Perhaps you are not aware of it, but you have robbed him of a process that is critical to his development. While moving on quickly to the next task might keep the family on schedule, continual failure to allow him to fully formulate his thoughts and express them will impede his development.
Giving your child the gift of time shows that you care. Slow down your pace and be totally present with her. Watch her as she plays. Play is her work, and it is the way she learns about herself and her world. She needs time to explore, to think, to discover, and to process what she uncovers. Sometimes you will need to engage in play with her, and other times it is best to allow her to play independently. Nothing can replace the gift of giving her the time and freedom to discover who she is and to express how she feels. There is no crash course in or early graduation from this period in her life. Trust me.
Most of us live very busy lives, and the summer brings even more activity into our already full calendars. Parents and children are bombarded with noise, stress, deadlines, schedules, and demands … but the summer of 2013 will come only once. Pencil in time every single day that you tune out everything else to watch your preschooler play and look your pre-teen in the eye. If you ask a question, wait on the answer. Schedule purposeful discovery time to find out more about your child and the wonderful world you share together. It is an investment that will pay rich dividends … for both of you.
“The voyage of discovery is not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” ~ Marcel Proust
Happy Summer! Explore with new eyes!