In a recent parenting class, I talked about the power that a parent’s thoughts has on a child. Without saying a word, the way we think about our children affects how we act toward them and in turn affects how they respond to us. To paraphrase the quote of Norman Vincent Peale above: “Change your thoughts and you change your child’s world.”
The way we interpret what we see in our children from a young age gives substantial form to the people they become. Do you see your child who flits from one activity to another as impulsive or creative? When he pulls down all the books from the shelf, is he being destructive or curious? When he would rather do something that interests him than a task you ask him to do, is he lazy or passionate about the things he cares about?
In the following short video, six different photographers are asked to spend ten minutes getting to know a man in order to do a portrait of him. Each photographer is given a false story about him.
The result? Six portraits that are portray a completely different person.
I love the quote at the end: “A photograph is shaped more by the person behind the camera than by what is in front of it.”
This is so, so true.
One of the most important jobs we have as parents is to mirror to our child his potential and awesomeness – especially when we aren’t seeing that in the moment! We have to believe in our children until they’re old enough to believe in themselves.
In a different class, an attendee told me she felt this idea was in conflict with what I shared about the importance of accepting your child for who he is. To me there’s no conflict. You accept your child for who he is right now. That doesn’t mean accepting a limiting definition of him in the present. It means you see who he is right now in the most positive light that you can, and you also believe in his potential to grow beyond what you see in this moment.
Not only does looking for the good in your child impact him positively, it also impacts you positively! As you view your child in a way that gives you hope and joy, you’ll find yourself parenting from a place of increased calm and connection.