I am the first to admit that I used to be a dream killer. In my defense, I thought I was protecting my kids from disappointment. But I have since repented and changed my ways. And thank goodness, or I would never have had this touching and insightful experience with my cute daughter. My oldest daughter is the spitting image of me...not just on the outside, but on the inside too. We both struggled learning to read, sucked our thumbs until an embarrassing age, are very sensitive to the world around us, and at times struggle to keep our confidence up. One day we were sitting at the kitchen table when she looked up at me and say “Mom, I want to have a really big house.” My first internal thought was, “ya, me too, but not in this lifetime.” But luckily I listened to a little voice inside me that said “SHHHH! Ask her why.” She told me that she really wanted to have a home with an art studio in the basement and a riding stable in the yard. I like those things too, so I thought it sounded fun, but what she said next broke me down to tears.
“Mom, I just really want there to be a place where kids like me can go and be loved and important. Where they can do the things they enjoy and and feel like they are good enough.” You see, my daughter is very creative and gets distracted easily, so she often doesn't get her school work done very quickly. She is a very smart girl, but learns very visually, which she doesn’t get a lot of a school. When she started kindergarten she was well above average. But by the end of the year, she was almost failing and the kids had started calling her “slow” and “stupid” because she was often the last one to get her work done. Her confidence plummeted and she couldn’t see herself as smart or talented. It broke my heart. Since then our family has worked really hard to find her strengths, work on her weaknesses, help her see her worth and show her the love she deserves. Now 4 years later, she is wanting to provide that for other kids who need it just like she did. I am amazed at how kindhearted and sensitive she is to other’s needs. But I wouldn’t have had that insight if I had not stopped for a moment, let her dream, and asked more questions.
Do we take time daily to show our kids the love they really need? Are we a safe place for them to come with problems and concerns, heartaches, mistakes, and dreams? I know growing up I was always scared to share my inner feelings with others, especially those who loved me the most. I am not exactly sure why that is, but I have prayed that I could be open with my kids and be that place they turn for strength, comfort, and a soft place to land when they fall. That one moment with my daughter taught me a lot. It taught me to value her ideas instead of shutting her down. It taught me that I need to let her dream, even if is doesn’t seem possible. I learned that there is so much down deep in her heart that she would share if I only took the time to listen and ask. I also learned that she is deeper and more aware of the world around her than I ever realized. So my challenge to you (and myself) is:
- Take more time to listen
- Ask more questions
- Act in Love!
Shelly Coray is an inspiring speaker, trainer, coach, and mom. She has helped hundreds of youth and adults gain greater control over their thoughts and actions and achieve higher levels of success through her workshops, speeches and training programs. Find out more about her HERE.