December is a pretty interesting time when we have children in our lives.
I lived in rural northern Indiana throughout my entire childhood, and I remember December as always being wonderful. The build-up, the winter weather, and the expectation were infusing everything, it seemed to me.
A Magical Time
The day after Thanksgiving is when Christmas songs began popping up everywhere; they were full of hope, peace and giving. I really liked that. If snow hadn’t arrived yet I knew it was coming soon. I looked forward to the beauty of the white ground and how clean it made everything look – it was something different for me and somewhat exciting, but definitely not the same for my parents. For them it just made life more difficult. Holidays are different for children. I remember that we got out of school for two solid weeks (sometimes more), and I knew that great gifts were coming!
This is all to say that December can be a little bit of a ‘magical’ respite for kids, and they feel it.
The Power of Sensitivity
During this unique time, the ‘sensitivity’ level seems to be boosted a bit. Stores are pumping out hopeful music, kids are gearing up for no school, and parents are talking about parties and time together. This period can be a great opportunity to deepen our relationship with our children. We can use their peaked emotions, the cheery atmosphere, and the overlaying sense of expectation to look for ways to bring up more sensitive topics of discussion. We can take them to places to see the beautiful Christmas lights. We can plan what they might want to do about getting some gifts of their own to give to their friends. And we can use their ‘no school’ time to spend some time with them if we can. This means a great deal to them, and it is an opening to use the quiet power of sensitivity to help build the bridge to our kids.
Sensitivity has a unique force to it, especially when the atmosphere is relatively positive like this holiday period. The power of sensitivity comes in part from the its depth in us, and the depths to which it spills over into the other person. This type of careful and conscious exchange between the parent and the child can build stronger trust and a deeper connection. It doesn’t have to be a big deal nor take up a lot of time. It just has to be sincere, genuine and positive.
Never underestimate the power of sensitivity. It opens other people and us.