A Lesson From A Little One
You may well wonder what this photo is all about. Well, other than the obvious, some child’s toys, dolls, sitting on a table, there is actually a profound and important lesson here. Monday evening is our family dinner night when our children and grandchildren come to our home for dinner and some family time together. It is a tradition I love!
Monday evening we had one daughter and her family at Disneyland celebrating the birthday of our granddaughter, Ashton, who turned 7 years old Thanksgiving Day, and another daughter at home with our granddaughter Sadie, who sadly had the stomach flu. So we were a very small group, at least for us.
Monday nights in our home are loud and crazy and full of singing and laughter and candidly sometimes a raised voice or two over some slight that has occurred among the children. But mostly it is sweet happy fun. Still with at least 6 adults and 7 children running around, and sometimes another relative or friend or two added in, we are not having what one might call “one on one” time with each other or with the children. We are a noisy active “group” as it were.
So when Monday was an occasion of being so much smaller than usual, there was certainly more than the usual amount of personal interaction…this is a fancy way of saying we actually had some “one on one” or “face time” with each other, both before and after dinner. In the midst of some conversation, after dinner and after baths for the two youngest ones, we were gathered in the living room around the fireplace and talking, and Georgie, our youngest granddaughter who is two and a half years old was playing by herself with some toys, figurines of Disney princesses she had brought into the room to play with at the table while we adults were talking with her older sister. I could hear her talking more or less under her breath, sort of acting out the part of each of the princesses and being their “voice” as she played, but I didn’t really pay a lot of attention to what she was saying. I was honestly just happy that she seemed so contented playing quietly while we were talking.
When it was time to go home to bed, I told our daughter, Amanda, just to leave the toys where they were, so she could get home and get the girls to bed as it was getting late. I planned to pick up the toys (there were only a few) before I went upstairs to get ready for bed myself, but I got distracted and didn’t pick them up. The truth is I didn’t really even notice them at all until the next morning, when I might have just swooped them all up and put them away in a hurry, except that I was thinking about our precious little ones and how fast they grow up. I was actually thinking that as much as I love our big, loud, fun Monday nights, I also love those one on one “face times” I get with them less frequently. The times when I can just sit and listen to what is on their minds or in their little hearts.
So the configuration of the princess dolls, that Georgie was playing with really caught my eye and gave me pause. They weren’t set out randomly on the table or in a circle together, or in a group. They were paired off. Three sets of one on one “friends”. And her little voice from the night before, role playing, was here being each of these “friends” having conversations with each other.
Georgie had literally “played” out with the princess figurines, what she needs, what we all need, especially during this busy season, some “face time” to have focused and intentional one on one conversation. She plays at my house several times a week as a rule so I am very familiar with her habits as she plays. i know what toys she likes best, how she likes to play with them, which ones she is willing to share with her cousins and which ones she holds on to tightly. I know her attention span with most of them, so the way she had played with these “dolls” the night before and the way she had configured them was something new. And there was a message there, a clue as to what her little heart wants when she comes here.
As much as she loves being a part of the “group” and is disappointed if anyone is missing, she also, just like the adults in her life, needs to feel she is being heard and being seen. That her thoughts and feelings will be heard and understood, that her conversation matters.
So in this “hap…happiest time of the year” which is also the busiest time for most of us, I pass on a lesson from a little one…take time to see and hear and listen to each other and most especially to your children. Give them the gift they want most in all the world…your time and your undivided attention. It is a gift that for both the giver and receiver is priceless. It sends true message of love, brings joy to all concerned, and makes this life a full and very abundant one indeed 🙂
We would welcome hearing from you about what lessons your little ones have taught you. From both Jackie and me…happy listening!