Communication: Helping Children Find Their Voices

image_thumb6Do you remember the first time you recognized your baby’s voice?  Remember the connection – heart to heart, voice to voice?   Time has passed.  Has communication changed?  Does something feel wrong?

Maybe Nothing Went Wrong

Maybe something is going very right, but maybe we see through the wrong lens, as they say.  Instead of seeing our children as stubborn bulls …

Bull of the Year

 

or sulking sea lions, huffing and sighing through the pastureland-beaches of our homes, let’s try viewing them as voice seekers.  For illustration purposes only, as calves finding their moo.

We all try new forms of communication from time to time, learning what works, what doesn’t, what brings peace, what creates strife.  Maybe your child is experimenting with his or her moo, too, seeing what works in the herd called family life.

Better that a child experiments with communication in the home field with loving, protective fences than in the wide open plains where a misguided moo may lead to a slaughterhouse of circumstances.

But I Want Them to Behave

Of course, we do!  We want them to wear our family brand, and our Christian brand.  We want them to look like, smell like, and act like the rest of the herd.  If the Word of God is our guide, there’s nothing wrong (everything right!) with herding them into His valley of wisdom, His love and mercy the mountain walls guarding their paths.

Guiding the Herd

But God also gives us much freedom on the journey – the valley is wide!  I’m discovering He gives us freedom to roam, and the freedom to home.  (Side saddle note:  I used to be such a roamer, but now find I myself enjoying being a home-er more and more-er.  But what a journey to get here!)

So, how do we help our children find their moo, their singular voice among the herd?

  • Patience, we must have.
  • And steady nerves (ha ha ha ha!).
  • And the perspective of the ages – and the sages.

It took Jesus time to grow in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man. (Luke 2:52)  If God gave His own Son time to grow up, He will patiently give our children time, too.

Safe Place to Moo

I am finding children –  and adults – need a safe place to practice their voice.  To be heard in the herd (most helpfully, at home) before they face the open range, multitudes lowing and braying, calling and crying for their attention.

Let’s Not Get the Cart Before the Cow

If we expect maturity of thought, opinion and expression before they’ve had a chance to practice, we are getting the cart before the cow.

As we give them time – and space – to find their voice, we may just hear an echo of our own search in the desire to vocalize.  So, start the convo with your kids:

What have you been thinking about lately?

And then let them Moooooo!

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REALITY CHECK:  My voice in print is not nearly as shaky as my voice in a room, as I have developed a strong attachment to the delete button.  I’m still practicing both voices, and I whole-herded-ly thank those who are being patient with me!

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Copyright @2012SuzanneBroadhurst