Thursday, April 16, 2009

the ferrari

sometimes parents don't appreciate how good their children are. really. i had some great 2 year olds yesterday, i mean really nice, non-fit-throwing, polite, fun 2 year olds. the parents of these kids didn't see many problems with the behavior of the children but they (i think) failed to grasp the absolute delightfulness of them.
it's kind of like if someone gave you a ferrari for your first car and you'd never had any other car, and you didn't know much about cars. people would comment on your car regularly - 'wow, cool car', etc. but to you it was just a car. it started in the morning when you needed it to and hadn't left you stranded at any time. 
these kids were ferraris. they were exceptional but due to no point of reference to compare with, the parents just took for granted that all kids were like this. didn't everyone have a ferrari? are ferraris cooler than other cars?
maybe you had really wanted a pickup or a suburban and all you see is the lack of space to store stuff. maybe you're scared of driving fast and all this thing seems to do is accelerate.
appreciate your ferraris. recognize them. praise the good stuff generally and generously (you are the coolest kid around! i think you're great! thanks for such a great day/week!) and criticize specifically (i can't allow you to do/say that. we don't hit/bite, etc.). so you're creating an ambience of positivity with this general 'gee, you're super' and in that context you are able to work on the fact that your ferrari doesn't have much trunk space more specifically without losing sight of its 'ferrariness'.
addendum: some days we all think we have a ferrari, or if we told him or her enough good stuff that he or she would become a ferrari. don't lie to your kids to improve their self esteem. just honestly enjoy them, whatever they may be. that is the truest form of love, to love without condition, just because you 'own' this kid you love him, because she's yours you will never not love her. so i guess i'm looking for that balance: of positivity and truth, of appreciation with no conditions - i love you because you're you. this level of contentment is a blessing i wish i could instill/inject/impart into so many parents - it's not what they do or where they go or how well they do - if they are yours, you love them, and i know it, so let them know it, then all the rest, like growing up and being good kids and getting good grades and going to a good school and marrying the right person and having you some grandkids...that's all just icing on the cake.


the.fortes said...

Yes, this is a thought out of my own mind!! My mother is always telling me what an "easy baby" I have and I always say, yes, I suppose he is easy compared to many babies, but it is all perspective! Him being my only child all I see sometimes is when he is fussy and driving me crazy with whimpers when other parents have screaming nightmares on their hands. So, this is a thought after my own heart. I need to see my baby for the easy going guy that he is!

Buffy said...

even those who don't have ferraris can take note. praise and positivity are amazing tools in the toolchest of parenting! it's amazing how quickly one sweet little word can give a kid confidence, change a frown to a smile, or even make the most "spirited" of kiddos obedient...even if only for a moment! ;)

Sarah said...

I have two ferraris!! :)