Today ~ dwelling in the sunshine as I watched  little leaves unfurl…at first, hanging on the edges of the playground, clinging to her Mummy’s legs. Then when the time was right, she unfurled, and played in and around the train with the other children, laughing and chatting to them. “Look Mama, that little friend is riding the train!” She glows, radiant and warm, and follows another little friend to the sandpit.

Across the playground, another child swings high…higher and higher. She loves to swing high, giggling as her swing is almost horizontal, even though she is only four-ish. Her mother is enjoying it too – pushing her higher and higher, laughing with her little girl. The other mothers arrive for what looks to be a mother’s convention, set around a gingham table cloth on a park bench. The mother of the little girl walks away, and leaves her girl hanging. The girl yells, “More, Mama!” Her mother ignores her. “More, Mama! More!” Her mother yells back, “Get over it Tahli*. Just get over yourself.” The little girl (Tahli) starts to sob. She is too small to get out of the swing, and obviously can’t get it swinging by herself. I watch with a sad heart. Should I get up and push her, or help her out of the swing? The mother’s convention set around a gingham table cloth on a park bench frightens me, so I stay dwelling in the sunshine, against a pole, as my daughter plays in and around the train and the sandpit.

I think a little more about friendship with our children…Perhaps friendship is the perfect model to parent within. Here is what I thought:

We treat our friends with respect, love and compassion. If we don’t, they will walk away. Our friends see the best version of ourselves because we don’t want to lose them.

Our children are not equal to us, in the way friends are meant to be. They are younger, smaller, more vulnerable, more dependent. Just as a doctor should separate her professional life from her personal life, and not befriend her patients, a parent’s role is to discipline, teach, guard and protect the child, not befriend them. And yet ~

We treat our friends with respect, love and compassion. If we don’t, they will walk away. Our friends see the best version of ourselves because we don’t want to lose them.

Perhaps, if we  have for our children the same respect, love and compassion we have for our friends, our relationship with them would be strengthened.

Watching the mother’s convention set around a gingham table cloth on a park bench and one sad little girl hanging alone on a swing, I thought that if her mother were to be her friend, she would hear what the little girl was saying; show respect, love and compassion, and either push her for another minute or so on the swing, or help her get out. She wouldn’t leave her to cry. She wouldn’t yell, “Get over yourself.”

We don’t need to train our children. Our children will be the love they are shown. The compassion they receive. The kindness they receive. They will, I’m sure.

Nourishing our little hearts with love, kindness, tenderness and sunshine will raise our seedlings into the best version of themselves. Treating our little ones as we would treat our friends gives us the tools we need to nourish.

So, as I dwell in the sunshine, and watch little leaves unfurl playing in and around the train with the other children, laughing and chatting, I feel thankful to have a friendship with my daughter. I am thankful that we share respect, love and compassion for each other. It makes our relationship stronger.

{This post references two posts I have written recently, How to grow a child and My little friend}

{*name changed}

Linking with In, On and Around Mondays on Seedlings in Stone

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