I feel very fortunate to be a part of parent cooperative school (as I have mentioned several times before), that also requires me to attend parent classes and hear some phenomenal speakers on parent and child related topics. Last night, I got to hear, Ronald Mah, speak about play, and the importance of being playful in all of your relationships. I have mentioned before that I am not great with playing with my daughter. But Dr. Mah (I will call him) reminded me that it doesn’t have to be structured play, to be playing. It can be as simple as walking in on your child buck-naked in the bathroom wrapped in toilet paper, and instead getting annoyed or angry, you say, “hold on, I am going to go get the camera.” Playful laughing, funny gestures, making silly pancakes for breakfast (this one I have down)
writing notes or drawing pictures on their banana’s, etc., etc., are all forms of play. It made me feel so much better because I already do most of those things (except for the banana art, but I will now). I am more playful than I thought.
His specialties vary tremendously from teacher, to preschool director, to marriage and family therapist, to author, to speaker, etc. He stresses that being playful in ALL of your relationships is the key to success, and has seen it be true across the board. I think he is probably right.
Although, my biggest take away from the night is feeling like you matter. Everyone wants this, right? We want people, especially our loved ones and friends, to know what we like and dislike. Think about us when we are not around, write little notes to us from time to time, etc., etc. These are messages of worth. It made me think about my relationships, and what messages do I give? What do I need from them?
I often talk to my friends, and hubby about “feeling disconnected” from them (and others) from time-to-time. I never really knew why, or how, I felt that way… until now. If I am not getting or giving messages of worth, I feel lacking. It makes total sense now.
Let me explain. If hubby and I have had meetings in the evenings or he is working late, we are not really communicating much. Simply watching TV together on the couch (which, Dr. Mah, points out is parallel play) isn’t enough for me to feel re-connected. But my how things change with the simple touch of a leg, or an arm round one another. Why? Because those are messages of worth.
We (human beings) want to know that people are paying attention, that they know our likes and dislikes, and that enjoy something we enjoy…
I for sure know, I love giving people messages of worth. The other day, I was at a garage sale (shocker), and I saw an outfit my daughter’s, (our), neighbor friend would love, so I got it for her (which cost me all of .50 cents, btw). The smile I saw when we gave it to her, and her immediately putting it on, was such a fun message of worth, that I didn’t even realize I was giving to her. I thought about her when she wasn’t around, I knew she would like it because I take the time to get to know, and I totally enjoyed her enjoying it. The message we gave her, is that she matters. What a great message/gift to give.
The other day, Hubby came home with fancy, schmancy (Oprah rich) jar of gelato. I normally eat gluten, dairy, soy free, but lately I have been indulging in gluten and dairy from time to time, but only in the evenings when I know I won’t have to see anyone in public (I bloat to 3 months pregnant). He knows it is my favorite, and I wasn’t expecting it, so I was thrilled. I gave him a big ‘ol kiss to show him my appreciation, and for that moment, I felt warm and fuzzy. I felt like I mattered.
Yes, I know I SHOULD feel this way all the time, but the reality is, I don’t. We get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of life and our kids, that we forget to make one another feel special. I know I have definitely let my friends go way to long at times with out a message of worth, and I am sure my family too. No longer.
I am just so happy that I now have the knowledge and the tools to be a better mom, a better friend, a better daughter, better at being silly, and better at making people know they matter, all with simple messages of worth.
There are a lot of smiles behind this black door right about now. Hopefully, they are contagious!
this post is part of a 31 day series. To read more, and follow along, click here.