Love through a Child’s Eyes
I have the great good fortune to live next door to my grandchildren. We play, travel, learn, and are often together. Recently 5-year-old Naomi and I were in the midst of an exciting game of her design. Abruptly she changed the rules. While I knew that rules and 5-year-old children don’t always mix, I was momentarily confused and said so.
Naomi: You supposed to be by the couch, not in the kitchen!!
Ba: How come? You just told me to be in the kitchen. Cut me some slack here.
Naomi: Just go to the kitchen.
We played for a bit and then she wanted a snack. I offered fruit, she wanted a sweet.
Naomi: I’m not sure I got the right grandfather.
A bit later I had to go. Naomi covered me with kisses and clung to my leg to prevent me from leaving.
And then there is 10-year-old Aaron. I shared care and respect with his parents and elder sister before I met him. I could feel his affection from the moment that we met. I have been with him only a handful of times and simply engaged him with FeelingBeing nourishments. Every time he sees me he hugs me tightly and tells me he loves me.
I was alone with 15 year old John after his parents had made it clear that responsibility and freedom always come together and that they wouldn’t increase his gaming time unless he paid more attention to math and writing. His despondency could have sunk a sailboat.
I lost, he said. They always win and get their way.
Are you more upset by the loss of the gaming time or losing the battle with your parents?
You know they love you, right?
I know they think so.
Do you love them?
Yes, John said, then deliberated. Well, sometimes.
Love through a Parent’s Eyes
Jennifer, a single mom, was butting heads with 14-year-old Daniel. As you might expect he want more time to play video games and explore the Internet. Jennifer didn’t trust that they were healthy for her son. She wanted Daniel to spend more time with her and his 11-year-old sister.
Soon, rancor threatened. Rather than blame her son, or the culture, Jennifer reflected on her values. Why did she hold those beliefs? Her contemplations soon revealed that she did not understand why these activities were so important to her son. She had been assuming they were distractions. She decided to take her son to dinner and inquire about the meaning the activists held for him.
Surprise! He had been teaching himself programming, going “behind the scenes” to modify games, and researching school projects. And he used the time to relax. At the end of the meal she asked him to teach her what he knew about programming. His smile lit up the room and her heart.
The last I heard she was the scorekeeper in midnight bowling for him and his friends.
George and Alexandra made the tough choice to send their 7 year old daughter, Margaret, to an independent school even though it meant forfeiting restaurant visits and staying home for vacations. George came into Martha’s life when she was three. Now, he and Alexandra were pregnant with their new child who was due in two months. When asked why he did it George’s eyes turned into lasers and sarcasm saturated every word. “Did you really just ask that question?”
11-year-old twins Henry and Marshall were bickering and bad times threatened. June had asked them to stop several times. As an executive of a mid size company she had much to do and, at that moment, was on an important call. Annoyance escalated in her, in Henry, and in Marshall. The shout started deep in her belly and she turned to deliver it face to face with her children. Oh, those faces! The shout died just before eruption.
What do you boys need? She asked with genuine empathy. What do you really need?