GUEST BLOG POST: 10 Things My Kids Tell Me with Their Hearts by Leta Hamilton
In our family, bedtime is a special time of day when I can focus on my kids without the distractions of media and TV. It gives me a chance to listen with my whole self and not the divided self that juggles work, dinner, dishes and demands from three children, who have their own perspectives on the world.
It is during the bedtime routine that they talk to me with their hearts. They know I am there for them and won’t run off to answer an “important” email (like anything could be more important than my kids, the cultivating of their souls and the joy they bring to the earth). If I were a seamstress, I would make bed sheets of the top ten things they have told me with their hearts during the hour we spend before bedtime brushing teeth, reading stories and just talking. My sheets would read:
• Take time to play with me and learn from the point-of-view of a child whose world is full of curiosity, discovery and diligent determination to understand new surroundings.
• You are only as grown-up as your last birthday – life is a continuing journey, and we shouldn’t be disappointed with ourselves for not knowing then what we know now or what we are just learning.
• If the day seems to be going completely crazy, then a good option is to just sit down and read a book or take a nap.
• Nothing is more important than love – the love you give, the love you receive and the love you grow through kind words and genuine deeds.
• The more tips you give me about life the better. I am learning from your example, so talk to me often about what it all means and there is less chance I’ll be totally confused.
• Your words make a difference. Am I “naughty” or is the thing I just did an uncooperative choice for the good of all? Please refrain from giving the message that I am “bad” in and of myself.
• I love you. I love spending time with you. I love making things with you. I love sharing my life with you. Can we spend a portion of each day just telling each other how much we love and appreciate the other?
• I make mistakes sometimes and so do you. Let’s learn the art of forgiveness together.
• What you did yesterday is a distant memory. What I did is too. The time is now. The time is always now.
• If you can learn from me as much as I learn from you, then we both will be enlightened during this journey toward my adulthood. It’s a learning curve for both of us. I have lots to teach you. Are you ready to be a student?
If I had these 10 things printed on my kids’ sheets and was forced to read at least one of them every night while tucking them in, I would be a much less neurotic mother. They are telling me all the time through their antics that life is about more than how successful I am as a radio show producer or writer. It is their wisdom from the heart that reminds me that I am the sum of my inner most beliefs about myself and they give me the courage to continually search within to remove the obstacles that are keeping me from being at least mostly at peace.
What I “do” is not nearly as influential as who I “am” in the world. With kids to keep me on my toes, I can strive to always be the highest version of myself: that person I want to be. In this way, I know I am a better mother and they reward me with their words of affirmation and cuddles. If not all of the time, then enough of the time to let me know I am on the right track. Their hearts speak volumes, and I am learning to listen.
Leta Hamilton is mom to 3 boys with another on the way (possibly a girl this time?) and host of the parenting radio show “The Way of the Toddler Hour.” She teaches simple techniques for practicing inner peace in the midst of poopy diapers and piles of laundry to moms groups across the Seattle area. Her book The Way of the Toddler is an honest look at the craziness of modern motherhood and the spiritual lessons we learn from kids. More information about Leta, her radio show and upcoming guests can be found at www.letahamilton.com.