May 5, 2005

Out of the Mouth of Babes

This morning Serona sent me a link to the Subrurban Blight blog and I found this gem:

"Little kids, man. No shame, no shame at all, no sense of pride, no idea that there are people out there who'd judge them harshly for anything at all. It's wonderful; it is the purest thing I know. You tell your child something, they hear you make a statement, and it is the word of the Lord, a burning bush. It is truth, handed down from On High. They don't know or see or understand things like spite, or rancor, or envy, or lust...yet. Anything you say, then, can be shared, should be shared. What you say to them is the way it is. To a child, Mommy or Daddy is an oracle, a demigod. You're where they get their truth. You, your example, and the words that fall out of your mouth are all they have to live by.

Children are amazing, and the responsibility of a parent is, should be, great, and terrible.

Oh, people...hold those babies close. Be so very, very careful with them, how you speak to them. In physical ways, children are just are tough as nails. In other ways, you can shatter them as easily as glass..."

For a good laugh you really need to read the whole post about a mothers honesty to her child and the unique way it comes out as he informs his preschool class that mom even promised to wear a bra!

This got me to thinking all the unique things are kids say that sometimes we wish they didn't. Like the time Rhiannon was almost three and having a conversation with someone at a book signing we were at. We were waiting in line and she had just named the speaker to which this woman was amazed. Within minutes I went from proud mommy to "someone lost a child mommy" as Rhiannon promptly laid down on the floor pointed to herself between her legs and said loudly "I have a ...and named the appropriate term for the area! Serona and I shared a mortified glance and the woman blushed and looked at us strangely.

Another time we were on a field trip at the police station and another child announced to the officer when he was showing us his handcuffs. "We have those at home" referring to a playpair they had but it came across completely differently to all the adults and the mom.

Still another time recently at Ciaran's birthday party, at a nature preserve, when we were talking about turtles - a child said "My daddy has a gun to hunt those" and the mom was trying to figure out what to say. They do hunt but not turtles!

These are the silly and strange ways what we say comes back but sometimes it is in much more serious ways. When our kids hear us speak they hear our words as truth. They do not understand inflection, tone, sarcasm and any other subtlies. They simply take our word as truth and sometimes that can be scary.

That is why when parents argue or fight in front of children in is so scary to them. They don't understand you don't really mean the nasty things you are saying. They don't understand that your tone makes a sentence mean something completely different. They are hearing a completely different conversation through just the words.

Also kids really don't know that some things they simply should not share. Anything you say is so important to them that of course they will share it. Children are resilent and they do bounce back but they are also fragile and we do need to treat them that way.

Go love and hug your kids and be nice to them today!


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