Being able to express oneself is a blessing. When we refrain from sharing our thoughts, we are captive. We develop beliefs that our words and feelings aren’t worth being heard. There is the old saying “children should be seen but never heard.” In the past, children were taught at a young age their voice was meaningless. Adults and authority figures were the ones who people listened to. The youngster’s ideas were squelched. I remember adults speaking about me to each other directly in my presence as if I wasn’t there. I felt invisible.
Children were taught to keep their opinions to themselves. Teachers did not permit any form of expression except agreement. Nowadays, children are taught to express themselves. However, there seem to be no guidelines for our youth. Children need to be taught how to express themselves. An expression of yelling, anger, sarcasm or cursing is not acceptable. That form of expression elicits anger, hostility and punishment in response.
Parents are at a loss. They are reading positive parenting books and the authors say children must be free to express themselves. It is true that a child’s words are filled with wisdom and we must listen attentively to our children. However, children must be taught words are spoken with clarity and in a calm manner. Children need to learn to think before they speak. Adults need to learn patience.
Our society is based on instant gratification so we expect an immediate response when asking a question or conversing. Our conversations would be so enriching if we had an awareness of what we were going to say.
I often heard parents say to children answer me when I am speaking to you. Children need time to formulate a coherent sentence. I am referring to a sentence of kindness yet conveying the thoughts that are surfacing. The adult also needs to respond with respect and kindness.
Agreement is not necessary. In fact, a gentle debate is exhilarating invoking much knowledge. Everybody is entitled to their opinions. It if not for us to judge if it is right or wrong. The greatest gift we could give to our children or any person is to allow them to express themselves and show we are truly listening to their words.
People should stop whatever they are doing when someone wants to speak to them. They should look directly into the other person’s eyes and have a pleasant dialogue. The person shouldn’t be thinking about what to say next. Instead, the focus should be on the words protruding from the other person’s mouth and the body language accompanying the words. People will need to wait a few seconds in between statements until the response has been formulated. Then conversations are based on equal respect no matter what age the participants are.
I had a habit of interrupting people before they even finished their sentence. It was extremely rude. Moreover, I missed the message they were trying to convey because I immediately had a response and I wanted to get my point across. As a result, the people had to restate their feelings until I truly listened to their words. I realized I needed to listen to their sharing the first time. Inadvertently, I was telling the people my words were more important than theirs. The truth is all expressions are equally valuable and we learn great lessons from each other especially when we have the patience to listen.
Children are incredible teachers and so are animals and the elements in nature. How is this possible when we are the role models for the children and the caretakers of animals and nature? As role models, we demonstrate virtues such as integrity, patience, compassion, responsibility and so on and so forth. However, that doesn’t mean we are superior in any way. We show children we all make mistakes and treat these errors as learning opportunities to achieve success. Many times, our children’s ingenuity is revealed and we learn valuable lessons. For instance, a child digging in the dirt, playing with worms and speaking to the worms brings our attention to the magnificent creatures of nature. Most adults are squeamish about holding worms. However, when a child puts a worm in your hand, you embrace that moment and share the love your child has for that worm. Together, you may go to the library and do research about worms. You may build a home for the worms and more. You have extended your wisdom through the help of a child.
Animals are often teaching us through their affection and unconditional love. Also, each animal represents messages from God. They are called totem animals. For instance, I knew when I saw a turkey vulture, it meant death but not in the physical form. Instead, it was the death of the ego and the beginning of a new life. Butterflies mean transformation.
Nature expresses itself in a multitude of ways! The smell of the ocean awakens our sensory organs and unleashes experiences in our subconscious related to this olfactory experience. Rocks, crystals and other minerals have incredible energy that immediately activates oxytocin levels in the brain. Bodies of water are extremely healing because our bodies are composed of 70% water. All forms of nature communicate messages from God about our divinity.
Nature and animals consistently express themselves and never repress. It is those who are open to listening who will learn from these forms that are considered inferior to people. They are equal to humans because they are a part of us. Everything in the Universe expresses themselves freely except people. People are the only forms of energy who resist expression. It is unhealthy. People must feel accepted and embraced for their opinions. They should realize being right is irrelevant. It is much more important to learn from each other and share.
There was an excellent ancient story. An extraordinary man lived in an Asian town. Everybody wanted to meet him. A famous scientist traveled thousands of miles to meet this soul. When the scientist introduced himself to the Saint, he began telling him about all his credentials and innovations. Without uttering a word, the Saint began pouring tea into a cup and didn’t stop. The tea spilled all over the table. The man asked him why he did that? The Saint replied when your cup is full, no knowledge can enter. When it is empty, one allows the liquid to fill it.
When one enters a conversation eager to hear what the other needs to say, he is able to hear the message accurately. When one enters the conversation with the intent to control and win, he learns nothing and creates animosity and mistrust in the person attempting to express himself. Listen actively and allow your cup to be filled up. Open your heart and then your mind will open to the expressions of the Universe.
© By contributing Author, Vanaja Ananda – All Rights Reserved. The Gift of Attunement – Show Love by Encouraging the Open Expression of Others written for: ProminentOffers.com. Learn more from Vanaja here.