- What are your child's real passions, the things he loves to do? What are his interests, his hobbies? What does he tune in to or seem fascinated about?
- What are her true talents? For instance, does she draw well? Does she have great rhythm, incredible grace, endurance, a kind heart? Does she think in numbers, have an amazing vocabulary?
- What are his academic abilities? For instance, does he remember things quickly, enjoy reading or listening, like to write, have a knack for numbers, have a long attention span?
- How does she handle social settings? Is she more of a watcher or a joiner? Does she lead or follow? Does she buckle to peer pressure or stand up to it? Does she prefer to be around lots of people, a few, or none at all? Does she make friends easily or need guidance? Is she more of an extrovert or an introvert?
- How well does he handle pressure or criticism? Do deadlines stimulate or paralyze him? Does he need reminders, or is he self-motivated? When he fails, does need encouragement, or does he pick himself right back up? Does criticism shrivel him or help him? Does he welcome competition or wither? Is he laid back or intense? Does he have positive or negative self-esteem?
2. Thinking now about the profile you've just created for your child, you need to ask yourself whether your hopes and dreams for her are based on who she really is on or on who you want her to be. Are your current expectations - the ones you've more recently crafted for your child's life - matching your kid so that they enhance his self-esteem? Are your dreams in line with your kid? What would need altering? Here are some things to consider: Would you say for the most part that your child is thriving or barely surviving? Loving the competitive pace or dreading it? Jumping out of bed each morning with an "I can't wait" attitude for practice or playgroup or violin, or using excuses to get out of it? Is she talking excitedly about gymnastics or that new chess club you've enrolled her in, or is she feigning headaches? Is your kid really capable of taking the accelerated class, doing the chore, participating in soccer or the playgroup? Are some of the tasks above his level of ability? Is he mature enough? Is this something he really wants to do, or is this your dream? Does he have the skills needed to succeed? Write a list of your concerns. Doing so will help you develop a plan to deal with them.
3. Has your kid or someone else ever wondered out loud if you're being sensitive to who your kid really is?
4. If you're sitting in a room and your child walks in unexpectedly, do your eyes light up with joy no matter what's the latest manship?
5. If there is one thing you could do to be more sensitive to your child and show your unconditional love, what would it be? Write it down in your journal. Then get ready to learn the secret and use it with your family. (p. 69-70)
So, now that we've written down all of our answers in our journals to see how sensitive we are to our children's needs and how well we are doing in the undconditonal love department, here is one more activity for you to think about. You may even want to try it out and jot down the results in your journal. It really brought things into perspective for me.
The Rubber Band Test
Pick up a good, strong rubber band. Hold it firmly at both ends with two hands. Now consider your own list expectations for your child. For everything that doesn't appear to be a good fit (such as your expecting him to be a great defensive cornerback, and he's more into playing chess), pull the band more tightly. For everything that seems more natural (for example, your daughter loves to sing, so you bought her a guitar), let the band relax a little. Think of every expectation you're placing on your child. If the bands gets so taut that it's in danger of snapping, you and your kid are in trouble. Your goal is to be sensitive to ensuring the necessary match of who your kid really is to what you want him to be. A good measure of your sensitivity as a mother is for you to be able to set expectations that gently stretch your children to become their best without snapping their spirit. (p. 71)
The rubber band test made things very clear to me as to how a child can seem to have it all, be completely loved by his parents, but be smothering on the inside. Do you now see how this yearning can be missed by parents, and is being missed by parents all over our country and the world, for that matter? It really brings our story that we read yesterday into perspective doesn't it? Let's make sure that we don't end up like the mother in our story and let the unconditional love that we have for our kids go unnoticed.
Tomorrow we will look at simple and natural ways to boost your sensitivity toward your children to help get us back on track in case this secret seems to be one in which we find that we may need a little help. Don't forget that Friday is "Show and Tell" day and our very first giveaway will kick off. And as always, if you know someone who would benefit, send her our way!
See you tomorrow!!