When I see people broken, broken in spirit, broken in heart, it makes my heart hurt. It pokes at me because I know that it didn’t happen over night. It was a series of events, or a lack there of that led to this hurt. I know it’s a little deep, but it’s just a reminder to me to continually aim and pry to get to the heart of my kids while I have the chance, even when they shut down and don’t want to share how their heart is feeling. In life we have many opportunities, or moments, to build trust and connect with others. It was Brené Brown who refers to these moments as marble jar moments to build trust in relationships (google Brené Brown marble jar moments for more on this). Over time and little moments we can make a difference and build trust in those around us, especially our kids.
I tell my children, my one in particular who shuts down when there’s a heart hurt, that mommy can’t see your heart but I care about it and want to know what it’s feeling if it could talk. I hope to build that trust over time, that I care and want to mend any sad or hurt feelings. It’s so easy to dismiss and mask it, and avoid it by distracting, but the reality is it needs to be worked through and tended to in order to surface and mend it. The effects of not dealing with hurt feelings, or behaviors will bite us, and them, later if they’re not dealt with and worked through. Don’t mask what’s happening by giving your kid a device to distract and deter them from whatever is at the heart, or root of the problem. Too many people ‘stuff it’ or put a band-aid on it when it really needs to be dealt with head on. It needs to be talked about and dug out so that coping skills can be given, heart hurts can be healed and empathy and compassion can be felt and heard. We, humans, long for human interaction and understanding and if all we do is mask it with a device, avoid or distract in some capacity, we are not equipping our kids for how to deal with inevitable obstacles they will face in their future, it’s just a part of life. I know there’s a time and place to reward, calm, play on a device and that’s not what I’m referring to, I’m talking about avoiding hard conversations, disciplines, tantrums, shut downs to take the easy way out. If we condition and raise our kids to deal with, and persevere through tough times and hurt feelings, cope with adversity, frustrations, they will know how to cope and deal with, rather than distract, avoid and bury feelings.
I truly believe it takes patience, intentionality, diligence, effort, perseverance and time to ‘fill up the marble jar.’ It will be day by day, month by month, marble by marble to teach your kids how to work through and deal with their feelings. I know it can be hard and exhausting at times, but you’ve got opportunities to train and equip while they’re in your home. Each child is so different and deals in different capacities. My three kids are so very different in how they want to talk, cope and work through struggles, frustrations, set backs or feelings of inadequacy, but mamas be intentional and diligent about getting back to it and getting to the root of the heart of the issue. One of mine needs a cool down period, one needs to internalize it first before we sit down to work through, but they know that mama isn’t dismissing it, it will be talked about and worked through, their heart will ‘talk’ and their feelings will be surfaced and worked through.We don’t mask it or cover it up, or pretend it didn’t happen. We, mamas, can’t see their hearts, but we know when their hearts are hurt or are struggling, what a beautiful gift God gave us mamas! Let’s be intentional about pulling it out, even when it’s hard. Surface those feelings and help them work through it. Sometimes its just empathy that they need, a little understanding and compassion for what they are feeling. They want to be heard and understood, just like we do, right? When we stuff a problem or hurt feeling we have with a friend or spouse, it eats at us until we’ve dealt with it. It’ll creep back in until we’ve surfaced and dealt with it. Let’s teach our kids to work through it and not bury it. ~Make it Grow