You’re ok!

“You’re ok, you’re ok!” – chances are you’ve heard it or said it, at the playground or somewhere else when a child fell down. Seems smart – let’s not baby them or overdramatize… but is there a more thoughtful response?

This comes up for me now, as a new student to Hebrew, when I want to make observations in class, or ask a question, or scribble feverishly. It’s not that I absolutely need this question answered now, or that I’ll know everything if I write every word. It’s probably because I feel anxious with what I don’t know, and feel the need to just do something. Maybe for control. Maybe just because I never put too much thought into this. But I do better when I let the learning wash over me without so much active processing. And usually when I’m dying to say something in class, that thought looms so large in my mind for the next 5 minutes that I miss half of what the teacher was saying (and probably the answer to my question). Basically, when I’m talking, I’m not listening.

What does this have to do with “you’re ok?” Same as in class – when we’re talking, we’re not listening. A moment of silence is golden. We have the chance to take in the scene before reacting. We may feel anxious to see our children fall, and have learned to replace our “oh no!” with “you’re ok,” but it is still a jumpy reaction. Maybe our babies will move right along even if we say nothing. Or maybe they need a little support. We don’t want to dramatize our children’s falls – but we do want to validate their experience of pain or fear. A moment for babies to be allowed to feel what they’re feeling before moving on is also golden.

The name of my textbook is “Hebrew from Scratch.” And our children are also learning about the world from scratch. I want Bina to know that when there is a hurt (big or small) it’s ok to have reactions. I can model a “no big deal” attitude when something goes wrong for me. I don’t have to tell her that something that went wrong for her is no big deal. So even in this tiny phrase, there’s a decent amount of learning for our beginners.

It turns out we are the students as much as our children. We are learning to be present without controlling everything. And they are learning how to deal quickly with situations and move on. This can happen almost as quickly as sweeping emotions under the rug, but makes room for emotional growth.

What do you think? Post your comments below.

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2 thoughts on “You’re ok!

  1. we all need validation…from infancy to adulthood… it's how we know others can empathize with us. thanks for keeping me occupied during my blackout! what would I do without my iPhone and your brilliant blog?!