I Need to Change My Face

I recently read a blog post by Dr. Brené Brown, about something she learned from Toni Morrison. She had watched Morrison on Oprah, and the question was about how you react when a child enters the room. “Does your face light up?” asked Morrison. 

My automatic response would be “Of course, I love my kids and I’m happy to see them,” but after reading the article I realized that isn’t always the case. So often my first action is to comment on a task I need them to do, or to correct a behaviour…and even just writing that I feel like a total cow. I don’t do it to be nasty. Often it’s simply what’s top of mind in my busy existence and it’s what I have energy for in that moment. Some days I walk in from work and the mess gives me a visceral reaction. Sometimes I need to ask our son to stop his incessant siren noises, and it’s hard to start that sentence with a smile. 

I want my kids to see my face light up when I see them. Theirs light up when I walk through the door, and I never want that to go away. And while my heart lights up when I see them, I know my face doesn’t always carry that message. I want them to know, and when they’re young that means to SEE and HEAR, that I am so happy to see them. 

Brené Brown was lucky enough to hear this wisdom from Toni Morrison when her daughter was only one, so I feel like I have some catching up to do. I definitely have work to do, but even in just a few days of intentionally changing my face and those first few words I speak when they appear, I already feel a difference. A big smile and a “Hey baby!” is WAY better than “Why aren’t the dishes done?”

How do you react when your child enters the room? Does your face light up? 

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