“It is a lifelong path to become more and more self aware in our own speaking.” – page 88, author Stephen Spitalny, “Connecting With Young Children: Educating The Will”
Such a beautiful line that speaks volumes into the true task of being a teacher and being human. We support our children when we speak clearly in articulation and clear thinking. Do we as adults talk so much, so long, that our children tune us out? Do we avoid silence? Do we interrupt the child’s play or own time in solitude in nature just to hear ourselves speak?
Most importantly, the ability to be “with” a child, not to solve the problem, but instead to listen, is a vitally important part of communication. On page 92, the author mentions a study done that shows the average adult speaks 160 to 170 words a minute and that the average child aged 5 to 7 processes only 124 words per minute as a maximum rate. For those of us with children with auditory processing disorder or other processing disorders, think about how much time they might need in space to respond, and how they may really need us to slow down. The children will follow us better if we can slow down our speech!
Part of this process also involves thinking about the essential question: to whose consciousness am I speaking? Clarity, brevity, honesty; careful words free of sarcasm is needed with small children; not a harried, stressed adult stream of consciousness.
The author also brings up this very important point on page 96:
Today there is a large degree of uncertainty living in adults, we are aware that we don’t really understand a lot of what is going on in the world. We have lost confidence in our own thinking and decision making. Some adults seem unable to form opinions or make decisions. In early childhood children experience many levels of everything that confronts them. They look to the adult for the meaning Iof their experiences and feel secure in that. They are looking to the adult for confidence and clarity of judgment. Without this decisiveness in the adults, the children lose their own confidence, and develop anxiety due to a feeling of insecurity.
Such an important thought! Too much choice in trying to treat a small child as an equal to an adult with too many choices can also lead to insecurity and an ironic lack of self-reliance as well. I have written many, many back posts regarding offering so many choices to the tiny child, so I leave those rabbit trails for you to find today.
I would love to hear what you thought about this chapter so far.
Carrie, hello. I admit, I don’t have a copy of this book, but have been following posts here and there. At 7, I have wondered if my youngest is already beyond this “early childhood” stage, yet when I read this post, I find myself nodding along. I am so grateful for the quote you included. It speaks to something I have been struggling with recently, especially as I go further with inner work while addressing some parenting challenges. Thank you for the food for thought.
I’m here to let you know that I have nominated you for the One Lovely Blog Award and you can find the information for that here:
Thank you for such a smashing blog!
Thank you, Lynn! Lovely of you!