Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Naming Emotions

One of the things for which I am grateful to my parents in raising me is that they taught me the importance of dealing with my emotions. I can only think of a few actual memories in which I consciously remember such lessons, but I know deep inside of me the lessons have stayed with me long after the memories of the time and circumstance of my learning have faded.

A few weeks ago when we were on vacation, we visited some friends with children close in age to our children. Shannon (who is four) was asking me to play a guessing game about why she had put up only one side of her hair. One of the children blurted out the answer before I could guess. Shannon was already exhausted from a weekend of fun, so she burst into tears. It floored me when, about ten minutes later, she said, "Abby, it made me really angry that you said the answer before my Mommy could guess, because you already knew the answer." Apologies were made and all was well again.

Then this morning, Shannon and I were stuck in bridge traffic. We have to travel over this bridge every day to get from our house to church, where she also attends preschool.

I had not been aware that bridge work was scheduled, and we were already running late. About three minutes into our wait, Shannon said "it is so FRUSTRATING to have to sit here and wait to go over the bridge!"

I am fond of saying that God did not give us emotions so that we could pretend we don't have them. I believe that emotions are a gift from God, and a part of living deeply. It is awe inspiring to watch my daughter live into this.

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