Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fathers do not provoke your children, unless they become discouraged

I am up tonight late, lots on my mind. I received an interesting phone call tonight and so my head is racing. Insomnia seems to be a devoted companion, so I thought I would write.

Molly was very sick on Sunday and I spent most of the day holding her and laying with her on the couch. Molly is such a sweet little girl. She is very sensitive. She feels things and deeply. When she is angry..she is very angry. When she is happy, she twirls. Molly listens to everything that is said to her and wears it like an accessory. Molly does not get or appreciate insulting humor. She is very literal and does not pick up on the subtle sarcasm. She tends to hear compliments to others as comparitive insults to her. It is so concerning to me that she is so hard on herself.

I have been thinking a lot how to parent a child like this. I think the core is to create a safe haven for her. I also think that Nathan has a great responsiblity in making her feel special and beautiful. I am convinced little girls receive a very real sense of themselves from the estimation they receive from their father. It is amazing how one sentence said by that very special man in a girls life can haunt her in her quiet spaces all the days of her life. It is hard, I think, for men to realize the importance of being careful in their jesting with their daughters or the other little girls that bless their lives.

As I think of the days of her life to come, I know media messages, mean little girls, unsmitten boys and her own self doubt will challenge her to see herself as the beauty I see. I want for our home, our words and the words of those whom she values to cushion her from those things we will not be able to control. The best protection comes from years of being lifted up by those who love her...this means course jesting just is not appropriate....not for her.

Balancing this is the concern of helping her learn not to take herself to seriously. Teaching someone to laugh at themselves can not come from tearing them down in the name of jesting, instead I believe it comes from creating opportunities for them to begin to jest at themselves. I have not quite figured out how to make this happen, but it is my pursuit. I pray I find wisdom as I raise her--she is so like me in so many ways, so I feel I have insight on how she feels, I just feel like I am blind in navigating the road of parenting her well.

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