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A Mother’s Perspective on Advice

Told by one of our Parenting Class students:

When my 8-year-old son came home from school he had such a sad look on his face.  A mother can always tell when something is wrong with her child. 

“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“Nothing” he said. 
“Really sweetheart? You seem sad. Did something happen at school?”
“Well,” he said, “some girls at school told me that I missed the best day ever yesterday when I was out of school for the Jewish New Year. I felt really bad about missing out.”

Here’s the juncture where a mother reflects, do I give advice on how to handle or just show empathy? The mother hen in me needed to respond, and respond I did.  I proceeded to say to my son, “well did you tell them how you got to stay home and do all sorts of interesting family activities to celebrate the Jewish New Year? Or, did you let them know that your grandparents came in town to celebrate and brought you presents? Or what about the cakes we ate and all the treats you had? Did you tell them all of that so they could see you enjoyed a special day from school while they where there doing the typical art projects a second grader does?”

My son looked at me bewildered? I thought I was giving some great parenting advice, fueling him to feel good about his day and not feel envious about the day he missed.  After a brief moment, he looked in my eyes and said with clarity and confidence, “No Mom. Why would I have said all those things to those girls? I didn’t need to make them feel bad and besides, something was not good with their souls and you can’t change someone’s soul.”

Spoken straight from an enlightened being’s soul.  The advice that day didn’t really come from me, it came from my son and boy did I need it!

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