Be Present (and so will they)
(My version of “Build it and They Will Come”)
There is a little boy in our school who is a runner and a hider. He runs away from his Grade 1 class regularly. He leaves the classroom when something is wrong: usually when he has been disciplined. We, at the office are usually called to go find “Robert” (not his real name). He has shown us his many hiding spaces, so he usually isn’t too difficult to find. I will often get down on the floor with Robert, sit next to where he is hiding, and just talk with him in a calm, kind voice. He needs to be listened to. He needs to know that we care about him. Once I have connected with him on this level, then we are able to go for a walk, talk some more, and then make our way back to his classroom.
Yesterday was a bit different. Yesterday’s incident made me think a great deal about this little guy, even more than usual. Without going into details about what happened yesterday, I’ve thought a lot about how to help students like these: to keep them with us – both physically and emotionally. The work our school has done with Colleen Drobot, on attachment, has emphasized the importance of the children’s emotional well-being, nurturing relationships with them and those will, in turn, be difference-makers when working with children like this. This way of thinking could be applied to all relationships in our lives: personally and professionally.
If you are a teacher, a parent, a spouse, an employee, an employer, focus on the now and try to…
- Listen to them (with an open mind)
- Look at them in their eyes, with kind eyes and sincerity (not just a glance, but really look) and see what those eyes are saying.
- Share with them
- Laugh with them
- Find joy in them
- Talk with them (with a gentle voice)
- Play with them
- Feel with them
- Sympathize with them
- Empathize with them
- Cry with them (or for the challenges over which they have no control)
- Hold them (when they need to be held)
- Cherish them
- Care about them
- Understand them (or try to)
- Prize them (not praise)
- Encourage them
- Inspire them
This infographic sums it up for me…
If everyone tried to be present in the now and really focus on the above, putting the relationships with others at the center, instead of the “rules” or what they “should” do, just imagine what a difference we could make in our life and the lives of others. Our personal and professional lives would be much more rewarding and would involve a lot less frustration (in us and others).
Do you have anything to add to this list?