Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sit on the Floor

"She followed me through the store yelling at top of her lungs saying 'I hate you. You are the worse mother I've ever had'. The mother of Gabby's best friend shared her unpleasant experience. She had no idea how to handle her raging eight-year-old.

"Next time sit down in the aisle and take her into your arms," I said.

"In the store!? I couldn't just sit in the aisle in a store."

Sometimes we just need to be humble and show our children that we can drop everything for them. Maybe I'm just past the point of embarrassment. Maybe I just watch and listen more than I did with my own children.

"Grammy, can we hug the tree?" Sydney asked as we walked down the path at Sun River. She was four. On our walk down the path, we discovered all sorts of plants and bugs. She was closer to the ground so found more to look at and more reasons for our walk to get longer and longer. Conversation revolved around whatever popped into view. I was telling her that we need to take care of nature and love it. So, at her request, we hugged a tree. People passed by and stared. I informed them that we were hugging a tree. I'm sure her parents would have been embarrassed, but we were having a moment.

I will not hesitate to drop to the floor to hug a child out of control. I will not hesitate to dance in the street with my lovely granddaughters. I do not go to their level but to their understanding.

When I worked at the high school with kids at risk, many of them had been disappointed by parents who were too busy to attend their events. One boy I interviewed did drugs because his parents were never home. I dried tears and sat on the floor holding these children who didn't have parents...parents who were aware.

There are no rules for loving children. Sometimes holding a child on the floor gives you new insight into the towering world above them. Sometimes it opens doors to communication.

"Yep, sit on the floor and hug her. It's what she would do for you."

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