A few days ago I was watching my friends 3 daughters ages 9, 7 and 4. They were playing with my children in our front yard. We live on a somewhat busy road and I have always stressed to my kids to play out in our back yard. Being that our little visitors aren't used to playing in a yard by a road with high traffic I was more worried than usual.
All of the kids were out in the front yard tossing a ball around. They wanted to play Monkey in the Middle. I saw them out there and became concerned that they were playing out front. I went outside and began explaining to the girls why I am so strict about my rule of playing in the back yard. Kate, the 7 year old, was looking up at me with a very confused expression in her huge brown eyes as I kept repeating, "Please don't play with the ball out front! Please go out back!"
Because she continued to look so confused I explained, "Kate, I just get nervous. What if you get carried away having fun and aren't paying attention and the ball rolls out into the street?!?! I don't want any of you to panic and run out there in front of a car just so you can get the ball back! You are so much more important than some little ball! Do you know how sad your mom and dad would be if something happened to you??? They would be sad for the rest of their lives! But if the ball gets run over...well, who cares? We can easily go out and buy another ball, right?? We could never go out out and buy another Katie! You're so special and there's no other Katie in the world like you!"
The kids all heard me and understood my point and went out back to play.
Meanwhile I continued with my housework. I was in the basement folding laundry and I was thinking about what I said to Kate and the other kids. I was so appreciative of the fact that they all understood my point. I liked how they responded to my focus on their uniqueness. I contemplated how truly beautiful each of them is...inside and out. I also thought about how all of the kids in our world truly are a special gift. Then I expanded that thought and said to myself, "Not only are kids special, but so are grown ups...no matter what age!" Every one of us is truly one-of-a-kind and unique! I compared humans to snowflakes and how there are absolutely no two alike...ever!!!
I also contemplated how today we parents continually stress to our kids how special they are. We probably go overboard making sure our kids have a good self image and high self esteem.
As my thoughts continued I realized that not only should we make it a point to make our kids feel special, but we as adults should make it a point to remind ourselves of our own uniqueness. Just think about it...in the history of the world there will never be someone who sees life the way I do...or the way you do...or the way your parents did... or your friends, your siblings, etc. We are ALL incredibly important and special and unique.
I think as parents we are so consumed with making sure our kids feel important and special that we forget to see how unique and special we are, too.
We parents need to remember that if we live our lives everyday with the attitude that we, too, are special then through our everyday example we will teach our children to have that attitude, as well.
So the next time you explain to a child how important they are remind yourself that you are special and one-of-a-kind, too!
Until next time,