I am currently taking a class called “Parenting Children From Hard Places” with Dr. Barbara Sorrels. We meet once a week and each time I leave so challenged as a mom. I enrolled in the class because Dr. Barbara is teaching it (I’m a big fan) and I am constantly searching for godly wisdom regarding helping our youngest daughter through various challenges. I kind of wish Dr. Barbara could move into my house and teach me as I go through the day.
The course is written regarding kids from hard places and most of those enrolled are either foster parents or adoptive parents. However, I walk away challenged in how I parent all my kids. One of the main themes that keeps coming up is an awareness as a parent of how I communicate and my state of mind:
What do my eyes say?
What is the tone of my voice?
What is my facial expression?
What is my body language?
Children mimic what they see and they pick up on the state of mind of parents. I remember first seeing this play out with my oldest when he was a newborn. He picked up when I was relaxed, stressed or overwhelmed. When I was calm, he calmed down quicker. When I was frazzled and crying as a new mom, he was often crying too. Each of my kids seemed to be progressively ‘easier’ babies – really I don’t think they got ‘easier’, I think it was more of a reflection of me as a mom.
Somewhere between newborns and kids growing I think I forgot how much they still pick up on my state of mind. I often forget how they mimic what they see in me – stress, anger, joy, laughter, calmness, fun, etc. They pick it all up. They mimic it.
Dr. Barbara has challenged me to be more aware of all that I communicate when there are words coming out of my mouth and when there aren’t.
I’m thinking more about what they see in and from me…and what I hope they mimic. And I’m thankful for fresh starts when I goof up.
My oldest isn’t a newborn anymore. He’ll be 10 in the spring. Though he is increasingly independent and becoming his own man. He still follows my lead. He still picks up on the tone I am setting and how I communicate. He is still mimicking.
And evidently, he looks surprisingly a lot like me.
I died laughing when I downloaded these images. I had no idea we were so good at making the same faces. These are among my favorite pictures of the two of us now. Goodness I love that kid. And goodness, do I want to mother him (and his siblings) well.