"Out of the mouths of babes, oft times come gems."
I had a conversation with a friend the other day about his relationship with his daughter. He told me about her ability to check him from time to time. He speaks candidly to her and although she's only eight years old, she has exhibited wisdom far beyond her years.
I can identify. As a child, my father gave me permission to speak freely to him (within reason). Disrespect was not allowed. But he did allow me to speak my mind, even when my opinions differed completely from his own. He was not afraid to admit when he was wrong and I was right. And he did not belittle my opinions just because I was a child.
This gave me the freedom to express myself. It taught me how to effectively communicate. It also taught me the importance of being honest about my thoughts and feelings. I've continued this tradition with my own children. They have always been allowed to express themselves freely with me. No topics are off limits. they have learned not to censor themselves with me. Our discussions run the gamut from current events, politics, and religion to sex, friendships, and relationships. I love their honesty, and I value their opinions.
Often, they will give me a fresh perspective on a situation. They show me things that I may not have noticed, and I am wise enough to listen to the truth in their observations.
Lately, I've found myself in the hot seat for the thoughts that I express. Even when my intentions are pure, my words come back to haunt me. It's a very puzzling situation for me. Having been taught all of my life to express myself freely, I'm struggling to find the ability to censor myself - particularly when I feel that my thoughts may help someone else dealing with similar issues. But, recently my son gave me some sage advice. Noting that my words - whether written in my blogs or spoken out loud - have caused me trouble lately, he reminded me that every thought doesn't need to be voiced. Just because a realization forms in my mind, it doesn't mean that I need to say it out loud.
It seems so simple, but the concept is so profound. My mind is constantly going - my imagination, my mental jokes, my musings. I usually have no filter between what I think and what I say (or write). But hearing the advice from my son has reminded me that my thoughts are all my own. I can enjoy the humor and poignant observations in my head and no one has to know the specifics of my thought process. I used to view that as censorship. But maybe it's just having the good sense to keep my mouth shut.
Children occasionally say remarkable, insightful things. I, for one, am all ears.