Thoughts on fostering growth through empathy
- a blog for parents -
When was the last time you looked at your child and saw them...? Really saw them for who they are?
Let's try this: Think of the first time you saw your child. Maybe it was the moment they were born, or sometime soon after. I remember the first time I saw my daughter. She was wrapped in pink with a pink wool tuque. I had been knocked out for an emergency c-section and was a little slow to "come to" after the anesthetic. We had both already been moved back to our hospital room before I opened my eyes to see her. It was magic! I got to hold her soon after and I remember absorbing every detail of her face. If I were an artist, I would be able to draw every detail even now, over two decades later.
In that first moment, I certainly had not considered what she was feeling at the time, but if I were to guess, I would know she was calm and content and there was nothing for me to do but to hold her.
She's now in her 20's and I still see her every day, but, so often I realize that I am not really seeing her for who she is and what she is experiencing in that moment. This would require me to focus on the present moment and hold a deep sense of curiosity about her experience. Sometimes, to be frank, life with all its demands gets in the way of being able to be that focused and present in that moment.
Your challenge, if you choose to accept it: Try making a deliberate attempt to look at your child sometime today to actually see him or her and wonder what they are feeling and needing in that single moment. Stay calm, open and curious and just see what you see.