Turning A Dirty Candy Wrapper Into A Thing Of Great Beauty
Kids Form Their Self-Image From Our Reflection Of Them
The other day I was talking to my mother about
how children learn about themselves and the world
by the way we interact with them.
In both small and large moments
we are constantly informing them
about our opinion of them.
They form their own self-image
largely through the reflection they see
in our eyes, in our tone and in
how we respond to their choices.
It’s Important For Them To Feel We Approve Of Who They Are
This is why it’s important that they feel
we value and validate them.
Even when they make mistakes.
Mistakes Are Opportunities
Often people think mistakes should be given
a negative response otherwise kids will feel
we’re rewarding them for doing something wrong.
This will then reinforce the bad behaviour.
The way I see it is, mistakes are not something to be avoided.
They are life’s learning tool. They are opportunities for growth.
If we make our kids feel afraid to err they will be less able
to take risks and enter into the unknown.
Seek Out The Positive Motivation In A Negative Moment
Often when little ones do something that we’d prefer they didn’t
there is a positive motivation behind it.
If we can find that positive and encourage it
they will be learning something valuable from the experience.
Even if we have to really really stretch our imaginations
to find that positive kernel
it will still benefit them more than criticism.
A Mother’s Memory
After this discussion she suddenly remembered an event
from when I was very young that exemplified this idea.
She told the story and I was so touched
I asked her to write it down
so I could share it with you.
Here’s a lovely moment where my mom encouraged me
and helped me to see the goodness I had within.
Playing in the Street
When my kids were little we lived in a very safe neighbourhood.
After lunch and a nap they all played
in the front yard with the other neighbourhood kids.
A couple of mothers would take turns in watching over them.
I had two little ones, my son was a little under 5yrs
and my daughter was 2½.
One day my little man was playing outside,
his sister was fast asleep and
I was taking advantage of the time I had
to change the bed linens.
My Little Man Brings Me a Gift
After being out for a short time, he rang the doorbell.
He could have walked in, but
he was very proud of being able to reach the bell
so every chance he got
he would announce his arrival by ringing it.
I went to the door and saw his little hand had
a candy wrapper in it which he promptly handed to me and said
“Mommy someone maked a mess, and I picked it up”.
Praising Him For His Efforts
I saw the pride in his eyes and heard
the importance of his actions in his voice.
I took the wrapper from him and praised him.
I told him what a good person he was
and how wonderful that he was helping to keep yard clean.
I said that I was so very proud of him.
He ran back out to play.
A Little Validation And He Was Off To The Races
5 minutes later the doorbell rang again.
I ran downstairs and there he was,
my little Super kid with a cigarette butt in his hand
“More garbage mommy”
Instead of telling him not to touch garbage
which did cross my mind as he was holding a dirty cigarette butt
I realized that this was in important moment for him.
Again I let him know how special he was.
This time his eyes shined even brighter and he smiled so big,
he could not speak, he was so happy.
As soon as I went upstairs, again, the doorbell rang;
at this point, I decided the beds could wait and
I stayed downstairs so I could be ready to respond to him
when he brought me more of his precious garbage.
Making the Event Even More Special
There he was my sweet little boy with more trash,
more pride and a bigger grin on his face.
That’s when I had an idea of making it
even more special for him
so I took a little garbage pail
and put a fresh bag in it.
I also started it off with the
three things he had already brought.
This way he could see how much garbage he had picked up.
This continued for over an hour and a half.
Involving the Neighbours
When he could not find any more ‘mess’ in our yard
he started working on our neighbours yard.
When it was time for him to come in,
I decided to go out with him and look around.
Together we decided that our yard and our neighbour’s yard
were the cleanest and best-looking yards in the whole neighbourhood.
Just then our neighbour came out
(I had called her to let her know what
her little buddy was up to)
She was full of gratitude and thanked him and praised him.
She made him feel so good about himself.
Deep Lessons Were Learned That Day
That day my sweet, gentle, brilliant little son
really felt like he had discovered the meaning of life.
The sheer joy of accomplishment, a job well done
and doing something wonderful for someone
without being told or asked to do it.
This experience stayed with him for a very long time.
I felt very blessed that the Divine had given me
the opportunity to turn a dirty candy wrapper
into a thing of great beauty.
A story by Shivani Patel
Mother of Vivek!