I Wish I Knew This Parenting Tip 20 Years Ago
The American novelist Toni Morrison is the author of too many works to mention in this short blog. She is also the recipient of just as many significant awards, among them the Nobel Prize for Literature.
Toni is celebrated for her commentary on American politics and race relations, but what you may not know is the simple advice she gave regarding what our faces tell our children.
Women from Brene Brown to Oprah Winfrey credit Toni for changing the way they raise their children and communicate with people they care about.
Before we open our mouths, children have already received a message from our face. Toni believed that it’s our faces that first convey our love and affection.
Toni asked, “When your child enters the room, does your face light up?”
As a parent or teacher, we often default to assessing our children as they enter the space. We are checking to see if they are:
· Noisy or quiet
· Dressed or dishevelled
· Clean or dirty
· Happy or sad
These criticisms and judgements are written on our face, plain to see, as if we had spoken them. Our love for them is not on display in that moment. That very significant moment, of them first entering our space.
What if we made a conscious effort to smile in delight when our child (spouse, brother, mother etc) enters the room?
What if our eyes spoke validation and love FIRST - before we remind them of the chores they still haven’t done?
Toni said, “Let your face speak what’s in your heart. When my child walks into the room my face says I’m glad to see them.”
This has a profound effect on self-esteem, confidence, and security of a child.