Monday, April 15, 2013

When a child tells you who they are...


Maya Angelou, the oft-quoted sage, once offered Oprah and young women the world over a piece of advice when dealing in relationships.

"When someone tells you who they are, believe them."-Maya Angelou

I would say that advice is true for children as well. When our children tell us who they are. Or how they feel. We must believe them and take their very real feelings into account.

Those who know me know that I can think and think and think on something within myself. And when I finally divulge what I've been pondering I'm ready to act on it immediately. And to the outside observer it can seem a bit impulsive, when more often than not the thought processes and ideas have been brewing for a while.

We just had a bit of a shake-up with our sons about the way they have been dealing with our recent move and the implications of our military life. And although I was shocked when at different points they each acted out on their feelings and anxiety, they had already told me before-hand that this move was not only unwanted but a major stressor.

But you try to patch them up and move them along. Get everyone acclimated and happy in school. Only to have them swiftly remind you through their behavior that the only thing more stressful than a move is the death of a loved one.

But they told me. And I only partially heard them. Was only partially listening.

It can be hard to always keep your ear to the ground and be present with children. They can be all over the place sometimes. And I've had my own anxiety about this move, leaving my job, my students, and my friends.

Then the alarm went off. Reminding me to listen to my babies. Their feelings and fears are just as real as mine. We are actually more alike than I had realized, which is bittersweet.

They are bright, but also contemplative and moody. Kind, yet demanding. Humorous and biting. And we all could do better with listening to both ourselves and each other.

I am blessed they are still willing to show me who they are.