Jun 25, 2014

Just Being There

We are very much results oriented people, which is often quite good and useful.  Then there are times that results are not necessary and just being there is perfect. 

I read an example of this in an old Binah article.  The author said she discovered the value in being there when her eight and a half year old son told her that all his friends' mothers picked them up from school and he was the only one who had a babysitter pick him up.

She was happy to be able to rearrange her schedule to be able to pick up her son.  The day she showed up, all the children were running around in the front of the school building while the mothers stood and talked.  Her son saw her and instead of coming up to her, he continued playing with his friends.

He then started walking down the street with his friends in the direction of home while she trailed behind.  When they arrived home, she asked him why he had wanted her to pick him up when he had ignored her the entire time.  She had expected him to run over to her and walk home with her as he told her about his day.

He said, "That's what supposed to happen.  You're supposed to talk to the other mothers and I'm supposed to play with my friends and then run home ahead with you following me."

I found this fascinating.  It is possible that if other boys were picked up by babysitters too, her son would not have cared if his babysitter came to get him, and this was only about being like the other boys.  But perhaps it went beyond that.  Perhaps it was about the wonderful feeling of security he felt, knowing his mother was there.  He did not need to interact with her at that point because his friends were there and he wanted to play with them and walk with them.  But even as he did that, his mother was there, within sight.

Parents underestimate how valuable their mere presence is.  Some think, he or she is just a baby.  What real difference does it make who diapers them or holds them, as long as they are changed and held.  They're wrong.  Even babies need their mother, their father, close family members, not hired help.  As a Russian woman said to me, Russian parents went to work while the grandmother took care of their child(ren), and no outsider cares as much as her.  And the child knows the difference.

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