“What you doin’, Mommy, what you doin’?”
“I like it!”
My son is so full of questions and statements that my newborn-fog brain is finding it difficult to keep pace. Every day with my inquisitive toddler produces a new adventure to be experienced and a new story to be told.
This week I was reminded of how the incredible power of untold stories resides in the hearts of all of us. A mother on the playground approached me to share about her Russian upbringing and her difficulty in finding contentment in the United States. A hairstylist spoke to me of her personal medical crisis and her concerns for the emotional health of her five children. This desire to disclose, however, is not limited to strangers; we all can think of at least one person in our lives that would tell us something, anything if we were willing to listen.
The news, as I’m sure you would agree, has been painfully depressing in recent weeks. A mentally unstable shooter takes the lives of innocent classmates while across the globe a burgeoning militant group kills more individuals than can be accurately counted.
I am one who is drawn to patterns. We each have a story that is waiting, dying to be told. For must of us, this need is met through an environment of love and support. I would argue that we only truly experience value when others allow our voice to be heard. Unfortunately, we are increasingly seeing ugly manifestations of silent lives.
In an age where technology-mediated messages (including this very blog post) supersede face-to-face, intimate communication at a rapid pace, our ability to read one another’s cues (and cries for help) is weakened. Additionally, we can consistently place our needs above all others’ without real consideration for consequences. All too often, empathy and an individual’s sense of worth get lost.
I can’t help but think we must turn the tide – relinquish the firm control we hold over our time and hear, which in turn allows us to see, one another.
And, yet, the conviction remains with me that parents are the beginning. We are the gatekeepers to the future. Perhaps the greatest story ever to be told needs our ear of comfort, encouragement, and validation. After all, if we do not take the time to listen to our children, how will the world hear the song of hope that they sing?