Saturday, June 9, 2012

Belonging and Graduation

Today's favorite moments included . . .

. . . Daniel intentionally misfiring Angry Birds so they flopped down an inch from the slingshot.  Every time he did it, he laughed as if it was the most hilarious thing ever.

. . . attending Joy's preschool graduation.  It was a nice ending to a very good school year.  I particularly enjoyed hearing the teacher's predictions about what each child might be some day.  Since Joy has very decided opinions about everything, the teacher predicted that she will be a judge when she grows up.

. . . playing with Daddy and the kids at the park after a picnic dinner.

And another thing . . .

. . . lately I've been reading a parenting book called Positive Discipline.  Many of its principles make sense to me, including the theory that all children want to belong and feel significant, and most misbehavior stems from their ineffective efforts to achieve that (i.e. seeking attention or power in negative ways) or their frustration when they don't achieve it (i.e. lashing out or withdrawing). The author notes that if a child came up to you and said, "I just want to belong and feel significant," you would probably respond in a kind, encouraging way, yet kids' misdirected efforts to achieve those ends often earns them the opposite of what they really want.

I think it's safe to say that adults want the same things, and often struggle just as much to obtain them.  I'm always intrigued by people whose appearance screams "Look at me!!" (either because they're immaculately fashionable or outrageous with crazy hair and multiple piercings), yet their eyes reveal that they're deeply insecure and almost terrified of making eye contact with anyone.  Maybe they hope their clothes and hair will convey the confidence they wish they felt.

I met someone like that at the store today.  He was my cashier, and as I looked him over--the tattoos, piercings, edgy hairstyle, and shy eyes that flicked away from mine as fast as they could--I thought of that phrase from the book: "I just want to belong and feel significant."  I found it easy to be friendly with him when I realized that he might want and need it so much, and our brief interchange seemed to make him feel happier and less self-conscious.  I hope I'll remember that principle even when it isn't so obvious.

1 comment:

Science Teacher Mommy said...

Childhood laughter is so contagious.