Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Things We Don't Say

The things we don't say are often, I have found, the most important things to say.  Why don't we just say them?  I mean, for Heaven's sake, out with it already!  I guess I am learning that the reason we don't say them is because we have said them so many times to ourselves we actually don't realize we haven't vocalized them yet.
Parents seem to be the biggest offenders in this situation.  Why?  Because their kids depend so much on what they think and how they feel.  That is how they create their own values and self esteem.  Scary as that may seem, think of all of those times you just wanted to hear your mother tell you that she appreciated what  you did or dad tell you how proud he is of you.  Isn't that the way kids are wired?  For better or for worse, parental acknowledgement can lead to a child's success or the lack of which can lead to the child's serious downfall.
I keep in my scriptures a precious treasure.  I realize this may be a precarious place to keep a treasure as it has a much higher likelihood of getting lost but I do it for a reason.  Several months after my father passed away I was really missing him and found myself asking him out loud if he could see me and if he knew how much I missed him.  That very day, if my memory serves me right, I was in church flipping through my scriptures rather inadvertently and came across a yellow sheet of paper.  The fact that it was a yellow sheet of paper was significant because I really knew only of one person who used that yellow paper.  I slowly opened the folded letter and recognized the handwriting right away, although I was somewhat dumbfounded because my father rarely sent letters and I didn't off hand remember when I received this letter.  What I will always remember is how overcome with emotion I was as I read the words "I want you to know that I think you are the best mom there is"  and, "Love, your Dad".  That wasn't all the note said but it was what I needed to hear.  I had to excuse myself from the room as I was so taken with emotion and gratitude that my dad was telling me he was there and he did see me.  These sweet words were something my father had never told me face to face.  I would never have known he felt this way, yet I often go back and reread these words and I feel all over again the sense of satisfaction in knowing no matter what anyone else thinks, my dad says I am a good mom.
I pride myself in being a pretty open book to my kids.  In fact, I am often accused of being too much so.  It always seems so obvious to me that they know how I feel about them.  But, just as any other inept parent, apparently there is still a communication breakdown when it comes to taking what I say in my head and actually verbalizing it to the child who needs to hear it.  Case in point:  This week my Morgan was struggling and once again we were there on her bed discussing what was going on and why couldn't she see the good and be happy.  I felt impressed to tell her how proud I was of her and her accomplishments this past year.  How I could see how hard it had been but she had really made a difference in her own life by consciously making choices to not let other's decide how she felt about herself and by choosing to believe she has value and can stand up to anyone in a positive and assertive way.  I told her that I could see such a change in her and that she had done that on her own.  I literally watched a light go off in her eyes.  I had said the magic words.  How ironic that I had said them so many times before... but just not to the right person.  I have felt that sweet girl change before my eyes these past few days and our relationship has taken another positive turn.
I'm going to try this out this week on my other kids.  I am going to make sure that when I have a positive thought about them that I tell them instead of assuming they already know.  Imagine the difference in your own life if friends told you more often how much they appreciated the way you listen to them, or if your husband mentioned that he was so glad you respected his choices, or whatever it is that you need to hear from the person whom you need to hear it from.  You actually have the chance to change lives with the things you don't say.

1 comment:

  1. What a wise mom you are! If it helps, you should know that Saren was struggling with some of the same issues at Morgan's age. All things seem to pass in time and you see how all that fits into their personality and future lives. You are awesome!