My city is on the Sierra Madre, Spanish for mountain range, where one is closer to lush green trees, blue skies, and the fresh mountain air. So you can just imagine the lovely early morning walks I do almost daily. Well, almost because on some days I just can’t get to disengage myself from the warm-cozy-soft-comfy sheets of my bed. Oh but I do have an ‘alarm clock’ which would nudge me out of my bed --doggedly! Brown eyes, mahogany-brown fur, long curled-up furry tail, four legs, and goes by the name of Lucky. And wakes me up with ‘woof, woof!’ … translated in English ‘Get out of bed, lazy head!’ So here I am this fine morning walking the usual paths ‘round the small neighborhood taking me up the slope in one direction and down again in another. Along these paths are homes which are beginning to hum with the day’s morning routine and chores-- fathers getting the car ready, mothers prodding their young children out the door into the car, and kids throwing make-believe tantrums to avoid going to school. Make-believe because they know it’s a ‘lose-lose’ situation with their moms. Eventually mom gets her way. :-)
I was nearing the corner when I heard a woman shrilly scold her little girl about wasting time pinning up a piece of paper on the garage wall instead of hurrying up for school. I know this mother’s husband Jerry-- used to work with my office on a project. Nice guy who dotes on his kids. I remember him telling us that he had transformed a wall in the long unused garage (they sold their car) into a place for his two kids to hang up their school projects whatever they are. And this was what the little 5-year-old was trying to do, I suppose—perhaps hoping to show off her stuff to her dad when he comes home from work. The garage was open to the street so I could see what was happening—couldn’t miss it with that his wife’s nagging voice. I didn’t slow down my pace and hurried past, but not without catching the hurt expression on the little one’s face—it tugged at my heart. A tear must have found its way down her soft gentle cheeks.
What’s wrong with us – moms and dads - parents? Why do we miss these things in our children? Why do we shove aside their tiny pieces of achievement, their tiny precious dreams? Why do we think nothing at all about hurting those fragile feelings – their tender gentle hearts? I don’t see the point why chores or jobs are far more important than listening to our sons or daughters. I don’t understand it either why we can’t spare time to be there for them. …and yet give two or three hours to a client who sits across the lunch table talking about his wife’s charity projects, his children’s academic accomplishments, and about his golf swings. And why we can’t leave off our cleaning chores to look at the tiny creased paper with odd barely visible drawings on it held up to you by tiny chubby fingers and proudly saying “Look, Ma... I did it myself!” And why Oh why is it so hard to say “That’s great, son!--am so proud of you.”
Let’s applaud our children. Show them how wonderful, talented, bright, creative, brilliant they are. Let them know that it’s okay to have feeble attempts but that they can get better with every try. Let’s applaud their every effort to compete, create, speak their thoughts, and stand up from every fall -- listen to their every question no matter how trivial or silly they may seem to be to us. Let’s buttress their unadulterated belief in goodness, trust, beauty, wonder, fun, joy, and humor with our own beliefs of same (which I hope haven’t become jaded at all).
Do not be afraid to applaud the children. It doesn’t diminish us as parents, nor does it serve to spoil them as some parents believe. What it does is make them grow up to believe in themselves, in their own strengths – abilities – dreams. It teaches them to see the good in others and in life. It shapes their attitudes and relationships in a solid and positive way. It molds their self-confidence empowering them to hold their own in the face of trouble and strife.
The morning’s mood almost got lost in that incident. Almost-- until I came by this modest house with father, mother, and their kindergarten son just finishing up his monologue (in hearing distance from me) “...and...and…teacher says I write the best A in class – and pinned my paper on the star wall!” At this point I ‘wickedly’ bent down pretended to tie up a loose shoelace but ears peeled in their direction.The mother with pride in her voice beamed “…wow! Good job. And I’m sure that your B’s will even be much better!” To this the father butted in “That’s my boy – takes after the father!!” with a twinkle in his eye. Can’t miss that one! “C’mon,son, let’s not be late for school.” The happy little boy turned to kiss his mom then hopped into the front seat of their car --wearing a glorious smile on his face. I held that smile in my mind, stood up and walked for home – this time with a song in my heart. Truly a lovely morning and a lovely morning walk! :-)
posted on Monday, March 20, 2006 11:21 AM