Elizabeth Traub has a message for parents. NO MAKING FACES when your kids are sharing their hearts.
I tapped on his door and then walked in to let him know, “Lights out in 5 minutes.” When I walked in I heard the familiar hum of the electric toothbrush. I then said, “Hey put that back on the charger when you are done.” I closed his door and tucked myself in bed.
A few minutes later there was a knock on my door. I told him to come in. He stood at the door and said, “It was a friend’s idea mom. It will not happen again.” All I could think about is that I had no idea what my thirteen year old son was talking about. Yet, whatever it was, he believed I knew more than I did. Inside I thought, “NO MAKING FACES”. Do not show disapproval, shock, or anything. Just listen and look at his eyes and find his heart in this matter. Lord knows I wanted to bust up laughing at whatever had pained his heart and made his voice tremble. I then, asked him, to tell me how the conversation when with his friend.
In the next 10 minutes he unfolded the story of two thirteen year old boys sharing secrets on how to masturbate. I listened and reminded myself of, “NO MAKING FACES.” I listened and leaned into his words. I admit I had to put my hand across my mouth to give the appearance of thinking and pondering his words because it was hard not to bust up laughing. Over the pain of sharing with his mother, what he thought she had discovered.
Dear Parents reading this. I have a message for you. NO MAKING FACES when our kids are sharing their hearts. No matter what the topic is. Being a single mom at that time was not easy. Having your thirteen year old share the intimacies of his heart had me listening and creating an environment and culture in my home that we could talk about anything. As we say in this house, “outward processing that is unedited.” It was something that started when the kids were little. Creating an environment that allows my kids to share their hearts and their thoughts without the fears of judgement and faces of disapproval. Listening and making no faces.
As his process unfolded and I heard the entire story. I realized I was embarking on a whole new level of parenting. Being a mama with a boy and teaching him that God designed our bodies in ways that were meant to feel good. No shame, no judgements. Explaining that even at night there will be things that happen to your body that your dreams control. Asking that he remove any soiled bedding and put in the laundry because these kinds of things happen. “Oh and please wash that electric toothbrush because, well it’s just sanitary.”
I am the mother of four boys. That young man is now twenty-five years old. Later on in his late teens he gave me permission to share his stories if I thought it would help other parents. There are many stories about this young man being my 1st born son. The message in this story is to really take the time to listen and understand our kids. Growing up does not have to be done in secret shame and judgements. I am now five months into another thirteen year old boy. Those same lessons and ideas with my first are once again playing out. Giving our sons the understanding of what their bodies are doing, and then teaching them how to respect themselves. Remember No Making Faces.