I don’t have but moments to write this early morning. A hectic, albeit good, weekend led to running behind even at 5 am on a Monday morning. Thank heavens for an accountability partner so at least I’m still working out because my no sugar diet went a little off the rails this weekend.
Feelings are on my mind.
I went to bed thinking about feelings and woke up still thinking about them.
A few of my girlfriends started a small book club for our 8 year old boys. Mainly spurred by some more competitive than usual behaviors from our little competitors. We kicked it off this weekend with a fun but useful book called How to Take the Grrrr out of Anger. (Recommend for you moms who want to help channel angry outbursts.)
Little bit had begun her own book club over the lunch hour once a week at school. The head of her lower school led it for all second grade girls who wanted to participate. She’s enjoyed it and I’m praying it’s helpful because there are already A LOT of 2nd grade girl emotions going on.
She woke up in tears this morning, with a headache and tummy ache, begging not to go to the school zoo field trip. I’m hoping she’s not sick, what with all the goo going around. But honestly, she was fine all weekend. Which made me wonder if this wasn’t just ick over wading back into girl drama. She’s not a huge fan of drama and it seems she’s dealing with more than her fair share this semester.
Thus, all the feelings thoughts.
Last night, the mommas were pleasantly surprised with the boys engagement on the feelings topic. My boys even came up with a game of charades to play, we hosted the first book club, and questions to ask.
I found myself learning as the boys discussed how their anger could impact others and how their anger can make them feel (lonely, sad, and so on).
In this age of technology, with ever increasing isolation of vast swaths of people, we find outlets for our feelings in unhelpful ways on-line. Anonymous attacks or vitriolic rants. It’s easier to blow your top at someone when you can’t see their face.
Our preacher shared a story yesterday from a trip he took to the grocery store. He heard what he thought was a baby wailing at the front of the store. When he got to the front to check out, he found out instead it was a woman. She’d been caught shoplifting and was being held against the wall by two employees until the police arrived. She was making an almost guttural noise. He was heartbroken and feeling an incredible sadness for her – clearly something had led her to this place but it’s not what she wanted from her life. Then, he looked around and saw people with their phones out filming the scene, some even laughing.
How are our feelings becoming so twisted in this era of live feeds?
Lack of ability to process and channel feelings into something better or productive.
Did you experience heartbreak in school? I did.
Did you ever get super angry growing up? I did.
Did you feel lonely or isolated? I did.
But you found a way through. And I found a way through the hard emotions.
I didn’t move forward and heal because I made fun of others. I didn’t grow up because I found joy in other’s pain.
What if we focused on pouring into our kids (or kids we influence) and how they process feelings? We could have conversations which demonstrate empathy. We could read books, fiction or “self-help,” which bring insight into their feelings and allow them to see they’re not alone in the way feelings impact them.
On Saturday, at little bit’s annual Valentine’s friendship tea for all the girls in her grade, we reinforced everyone can be friends. On Sunday, at Sunday School, we shared ways we can be kind to others. We celebrated kindness acts shown by these 2nd graders during the week.
Feelings are BIG and good and bad and joyful and isolating. It’s a lot to handle when you’re grown up, so it’s all that more overwhelming as a child.
I’m praying I can find an opportunities to pour into children’s lives and demonstrate firsthand how feelings can be used for great good instead of harm and pain.