How special are your children?
I know without a shadow of a doubt my children are the most special four children in the world to me – they are kind, they have generous spirits, they’re compassionate, understanding, loyal and trustworthy but they are also reliable, responsible and respect me, each other and other people. Quite a line-up of accolades you might think for four teenagers!!! To be honest the list could go on and on and on, but I’m hoping here that at least some of you reading this would have your own list of honours for your own children? What would that list comprise of?
The real question though is how much time do we spend considering how special our children are and the special qualities that they have, not overtly praising them but actually just consciously sitting back and thinking about the minutia in each one of them that makes them special? Special, that is, in terms of their own uniqueness not the fact that they will be the number one in something or necessarily the best! And then, how often, when they’ve driven us to distraction, when on one of those really frustrating days when it all seems to have gone wrong (particularly in the holidays) do we actually try and think of the good rather than the bad that has consumed so much of our thoughts – like the days when the walls have been scribbled all over by an over zealous child, or siblings have been bickering and fighting constantly all day long or teenagers have fallen in through the front door slightly worse for wear after a late night party? Effectively when the chaos has ceased and the wake of storm rests heavy, how often is it then possible to think about the wonderful qualities that make up the good in your child to bring everything back into equilibrium!
Being positive isn’t always that easy is it? You only have to listen to a group of mum’s talking over a coffee with their babies in pushchairs to realise that it doesn’t take long for this mind set of not thinking positively about our children to kick in too and the not thinking about them as special and unique to take a grip! At that age, it may be the gripes they’re not sleeping, not eating, throwing toys out of the pram and at each other, refusing to sit in the car seat etc and the list goes on. Moving into the school years, academia then becomes an issue, playground bullying or classroom behaviour. Whilst for many parents, it will always be the teacher’s fault that Little Jonny isn’t reading, these nuances start to consume waking thoughts and he’s either not doing what his older brother did or he’s behind in comparison to Little Archie next door or perish the thought National Statistics! Into the teenage years then the list unfurls still further and we’ve all heard parents of teenagers talking – they talk about their teenagers as moody, monosyllabic, rude, socializing too much, not focussing enough on school work etc etc. And as a result the worry becomes “will they turn out all right?”
But wind back the clock what if our patterns of thoughts processed the good. What about the smiles, the babbles, the interactions, and of course the list of firsts in the early years which soon get accepted as normal. Next process, the fact our 7 year old is fun and gregarious as well as loving, kind and generous before turning perceptions of teenagers on their head and think how much they’ve developed, how far they’ve come, how independent they are becoming and celebrate their new found maturity with a sense of fun and expectancy that they will turn out after all, to be healthy, all rounded, fantastic adults!
Do you see how thinking how special your child is in your eyes changes your perception?
I had a friend once and she horrified me one day when she’d just finished listing off the latest list of achievements her children had amassed on the phone! She was the sort of person that could always wrap up their “specialness” in a negative context! Do you know the sort – “oh Andrew is absolutely hopeless, he scraped an A* in Maths but is a failed case in English.” Actually what she was telling me was that Andrew had done really well and just got an A* in Maths and good on him – he had worked hard and she was proud of him and rightly so! Full stop! The English caveat on the end of the sentence was just her insecurity that I might have judged her for daring to say something positive about her own child, which I wouldn’t have done! She then, in a similar vein revealed that her daughter had won some trophy in a horse jumping competition – so applause all round, I’d say, but then it came, like a bolt from the blue as she referred to another mutual friend’s children. I’d just said to her how wonderful it was her children had done so well, which she did acknowledge and then she said “It must be hard for Jane, you know with her children x and y. It must be hard for her because, you know, they’ll never be special will they?” Now ‘x’ and ‘y’ had both been diagnosed with ADHD and either Autism or Aspergers at the time plus a conundrum of other problems. Why on earth did she think they would not be special? It certainly didn’t align with my perception and I was flabbergasted to say the least but it made me think – what do we constitute as “special”? Has the world gone “special” mad?
In essence though there is one very easy answer – every single child that is born is special! The media hype and the celebrity status that the world has subscribed to nowadays has under-rated what special is! To that friend, specialness came from extrinsic qualities that were bought in (I’m not under-rating them but they are only part of the equation), she failed to appreciate the intrinsic qualitites that are within children that make them just as special too! She also confused the word special with the concept ‘best at’! However, an A*in Maths doesn’t give anyone an A* in specialness, it’s just that is their A* special quality, ie. a unique or special intelligence maybe! An A* in kindness or even that A* smile that a small child gives that cheers your day is equally as special to give a couple of other examples! For in essence Special isn’t something that can be separated from the child, it is an intricate part of the child and that is what we celebrate. A ……
Individual that is
And that crosses health, wealth, disability and academic boundaries. Your special child is special because they worthy to be adored and loved by you! They are special because they are each spectacularly perfect in their own unique way, not any way that is defined by ordinary and normal, but in the Extra-Ordinary capacity that makes them your child!
So, how special are your children? Well only you can answer that, but hopefully we all know the answer already in our hearts!