It’s amazing how when your kids start talking you suddenly hear what you must sound like yourself. For example, whenever Birdy says, noice instead of nice, I think, ‘Do I really sound like that?’ But on a more serious note, whenever she says something really noice to me, it’s also a reminder of how good words of affirmation are for the soul, and that encouraging words spoken to one person often have a flow-on effect to others.
Just the other night, when I was tucking Birdy into bed, I leant over to kiss her and all my hair fell down over my face. Birdy very gently reached up and pushed my hair to one side, but it kept falling over my face again. With great concern she said, ‘Your eyes go in your hair, Mum.’ I had to try hard not to laugh at that. And then she said, ‘You need a pretty, Mum’. Like many toddlers, she thinks hair-clips and hair-bands are called prettys because whenever we put them in her hair, we say, ‘Ooooh, pretty.’ So I tied my hair back and then she said, ‘You look berry cute Mum.’ And my heart just melted. Not because she really thinks I’m cute, but because she’s repeating back to me exactly what I say to her every time I do her hair. And it reminded me of how everything we say to our kids gets absorbed by them and comes out again later.
But of course it’s not just what we say to our kids that’s important; its also how we respond to what they say. Some kids have never really been listened to. Listening to a child is a very powerful form of affirmation. In fact as I was preparing this segment for the radio, Birdy was being looked after by her babysitter for the morning. As they were playing I heard Birdy say, “I like you, Hannah.” And straight away Hannah said, “I like you too. We’re good friends, aren’t we?” It was wonderful to hear Birdy’s positive words being affirmed enthusiastically back to her, because kids need to learn that their words actually have an impact on how other people feel as well.
What have you said that your kids have absorbed? Has your child ever just melted your heart with something cute they said?