April 17, 2017
Afew weeks ago, a parent came to me with news about a family crisis. Parents will often reach out when there are personal events that may present changes or challenges, family issues that might impact a child’s mood, behavior, or ability to learn. It is often useful information or a request for a call should we notice anything different.
This visit was, like most, a ‘heads up’ call. But as I listen to this parent share, I realized it was actually so much more than that. During the family meeting, as parents were struggle with sharing serious news, the younger of the two children, one of our 3rd graders, asked for his parents to stop. He ran up to his room and gathered together some stuffed animals and prized possessions, brought them down and assembled them in a group and said, “I think we should have a Way of Council meeting. Which talking piece would you like to start with?” He proceeded to lead his family into and through a talk about feelings and fears, in a centered, mature way that truly belied his years. It gave a thoughtful structure for a tender family moment.
Not all children will internalize it quite this way. Howard Gardner, in his work on multiple intelligences, said one type of intelligence is interpersonal intelligence, the capacity to detect and respond appropriately to the moods, motivations and desires of others.
It doesn’t matter if it’s called mindfulness, or being in the moment, or interpersonal intelligence. Just being present for one another, listening, being intuitive enough to sense that at this moment in time, we need to be there for one another. This is the work we do in Way of Council. Hope to see you Tuesday.