Brene’ Brown in Daring Greatly shared advice that she received years ago and has wholeheartedly applied to her parenting.
…a beautiful thing about the messages that we get about who we are is when a child first walks into a room…..It’s interesting to watch what happens when a child walks into a room. Does your face light up? The person sharing the advice noted that when her children first walked into the room she would make sure they looked appropriate. She went on to share that you think you are showing affection and your deep love is on display because you’re caring for them. It’s not. When they see you, they see the critical face, and “what’s wrong now?” The advice was simple: Let your face speak what’s in your heart. When they walk in the room let your face say ‘I’m glad to see you’. (p. 223)
There are so many barriers to this simple advice–being at odds with your child, your own depression and troubles, stress, exhaustion, and perhaps a relationship that is not reciprocated.
What I personally enjoyed about this simple advice was the fact that it’s sincerely easy. Maybe at some point I’ve experienced the list above in some fashion, but if I remove the layers in my mind and remember the tender mind and soul of my child, I realize the importance and power I have to show love and affection in a single moment. It’s not a long gushing, over-the-top action but a simple pause that says I recognize you as a human soul that needs love and acceptance.
Think of the last time you showed up to an event without someone to walk into the room with you. The person who reached out with a smile, a hug, and a “glad you are here!” made all the difference in the world in that moment.
Yesterday I walked into an unfamiliar setting with my job. Due to various events and actions, I had to work at my “leadership presence”. I left feeling good about advocating, but I was exhausted and questioned why these actions and attitudes had to take place. Not only can we make a difference in our family with this simple action, but we can make a difference in our place of employment. Be the person who is kind and reaches out even if it’s not given in return. My greatest earthly hero in unconditional love is Mother Teresa.
Our ultimate perfect hero is Jesus—
Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” And the soldiers gambled for his clothes by throwing dice.