We shouldn’t give our children everything they want, we should see through the storms to give them everything they need…I wanted coffee… decaf, almond milk, large cappuccino, my usual order… suffice to defrost my frozen winter bones… It had been a busy Saturday morning- boys carting garden refuse to the dump, girls hitting Fruit Lovers Market and the hairdresser, a trip down the road to watch parachute jumpers perform their stunts from a bridge outside the Royal Show Grounds… a typical ‘do-everything-you-need-to-do-in-one-day’ weekend morning… Afternoon arrived and my husband announced that he was taking the car to the car wash. I jumped at the idea, thinking it would be a perfect opportunity to tag along and satisfy my decaf needs whilst we waited… but it was not to be…I looked at the kids excitedly and told them the afternoon plans. Rachel was happy to accompany us but Christian began melting down… Not even the attempted enticement of a hot chocolate could dry his tears and convince him otherwise… He had his heart and imagination set on creating a pirate boat that he had seen in a school library book… He had already unearthed the trusted enormous pre-loved box from the garage, hauled it out and now he pleaded through the sobs…My attempts to convince him that we would make the boat the following day were failing dismally, and as the seconds ticked by I watched my hot, frothy cappuccino slide out of my reach… My little boy was melting down, falling apart… I wanted to override the moment, insist we all get into the car…. but I looked into his sorrow-filled eyes… I looked beyond them, and I realized that what may have seemed like a child wanting his own way, was just a little boy desperately trying to convey a need…I placed my order for a takeaway and watched as the car, complete with my husband and daughter, exited the bricked driveway. I looked at Christian, drew a breath and summoned my creative mind. We began our pirate boat building mission… gathering masking tape, scissors, sticks, materials and hauling out some old powder paint I had stashed in the garage some years ago. The excitement, the delight, the utter joy…“I love painting… I love painting with my beautiful mom… This is fun, this is so much fun” … My heart melted… I was in the midst of uncontaminated, unparalleled connection…an opportunity I had almost missed entirely for the moments my vision had been blurred by the storm…a need I had almost missed… He needed time… to be away from the crowds, the busyness, the Saturday rush… to be in his own space, to stretch his imagination, to watch his ideas come to life… He needed to connect in silence as we painted an old box side by side… Excitement, contentment, gratitude…. my little boy hadn’t gotten his own way… he’d had his soul fed… which was all he was asking for in the first place… We shouldn’t give our children everything they want but we need to be in tune enough and listen clearly enough to break through what may at times seem like impossible behaviour and to hear the message which is really being communicated…to see the real need…It’s so easy to hear what we want to hear when our children are falling apart… It’s much harder to hear the message they are really trying to communicate at these times… I need you, I need time with you, I need you to understand me…Step back and hear what they are communicating about their needs… Be still… take a breath… keep quiet for long enough to listen to your child…. to hear the need, not the want… to fill a soul with joy… and in doing that, to enrich your own … Be still… Listen to the breeze that is begging to be heard behind the raging storm…

With motherly love

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