What's the Good Word?
Got an email
from a homeschooling site today about the ten words we should use with
our preschoolers every day. I think they are good words to use with EVERYONE every day. But it is especially true of
foster children. The words are:
Thank you. Sounds like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? Well, it is.
I mean it should become instinct to say thank you. The harder thing is to be really grateful. And I admit that sometimes when
I am not feeling kindly to a child, I say thank you with a snarl in my voice. Being polite. Word but not intention. I mean,
the kid has just hammered two horseshoe nails into your 100-year-old stair banister and told you that the teacher’s
complaints about his school behavior were lies. He hands you a spoon so you can stir the eggs into the casserole and you’re
supposed to say thank you and mean it? In a word: yeah.
We expect the
same of them.
Tell me more: Okay, this kid can go on for twenty minutes about the booger on the principal’s
nose before he tells you that the science class did a special project. And
you’re supposed to encourage him to elaborate? Again, yeah.
somewhere in the middle of his re-telling the plot of Spiderman, he may slip in a little part about why he bangs his head
on the stairs. Or what he’s afraid of when he wakes up at 2 AM, or why
he wants to be called “Max.”
might find out what his English assignment REALLY was.
Another no brainer. Except, this kid won’t respond to please. You have to follow it up with a raised voice and a threat
or two. Okay. But I guess we’re supposed to start with the please thing.
How about a hug? Okay.
Maybe not with everyone. But lots of grownups need them, too, and many never get them.
And you may have to be careful in the WAY you hug. Some hugs need to be given sideways…around the shoulder. But
it’s a proven fact that parents (especially dads) stop touching their kids when they reach 10 or so. EVERYONE at some
time or other needs to be touched. And even if this is not the time IT COULDN’T HURT TO ASK.
The others are:
Let’s all pitch in, you can do it, how can I help, it’s time to…(this one is about setting boundaries)
and I love you.
The thing is, saying these things isn’t enough. You have to mean them.
the tough part. It’s tough not to take the insults to our cooking (My mom’s is lots better) or to our housekeeping
or our decorating or our ability to provide for our families (at home I have a Playstation3) personally. Not to get resentful.
Because once resentment sets in, it is the lens through which we see all a child’s actions and motives.
And like measles, resentment is catching.