This week, Nathan M., a former colleague and friend of mine shares with us a conversation between his wife, Pop, and their 3-year-old daughter, Sahara:
After a month of dancing classes:
Sahara: “Mommy, I’m not a good dancer.”
Pop: “I think you are, honey. But I want you to have fun.”
Sahara: “After I dance will you still be proud of me?”
Isn’t it simply incredible how children think and view the world nowadays? Sometimes, I, as a parent myself, forget that our children see and hear everything we and others do and say, and in turn learn about expectations and acceptance, to name a few. Pop and Sahara’s conversation shows how Sahara is quite unsure about being a good dancer, as she probably thinks others expect her to perform better to be a good one. Additionally, even after Pop reassures Sahara that she is, in fact, a good dancer, she still doubts if her mom would still be proud of her after she dances.
Even her dad, Nathan, is wondering how a 3-year-old can think in such manner, but it seems that children today are very smart, and understand certain acceptance concepts and needs to which adults think children may still be oblivious at their age. The above conversation is inspiring in that even at just 3 years old, Sahara is able to openly and effectively communicate her thoughts to her mom. Most importantly, Pop reassures her daughter of her great ability as a dancer, and lets her know that she wants her to have fun, as well. Pop’s response is also an excellent reminder for parents of the importance of listening to and supporting our children even if they have doubts about themselves and others.
As our week comes to a close, and as we prepare to spend some quality time with our family, especially our children, let us be reminded of the essential roles we play in raising children that have confidence, appreciation, love, and goals today and everyday.
Thank you, Nathan, Pop and Sahara for reminding us of the following:
In the words of one of my favorite authors, Dorothy Law Nolte (1998):
“If children live with encouragement, they learn confidence…. If children live with praise, they learn appreciation. If children live with acceptance, they learn to love. If children live with approval, they learn to like themselves. If children live with recognition, they learn it is good to have a goal.”
(Source: Children Learn What They Live: Parenting to Inspire Values by Nolte & Harris, 1998.)
About the Author: Charm Moreto Damon is a mother, a TESOL professional and a freelance editor. She graduated from the University of the Philippines, and pursued graduate studies at the Ohio State University, where she also taught academic writing and research to international students. She is currently a stay-at-home-mom, and keeps herself busy with family, friends, and editorial work. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.