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  • Writer's pictureDr. Trenita Childers

Let Home Heal

When I think about parenting my kids, my number one goal, main priority, “as long as I don’t fail at this” parenting priority is to protect their hearts. Their kid hearts. Their boy hearts. Their Black boy hearts. A heart broken at home is hard to heal. A heart broken at home can turn its critical eye inward and pierce the hurt outward in ways that cause a lifetime of confusion. A heart broken at home is never quite sure which way is up and may struggle to find anchors that provide stable ground. A heart broken at home learns that distance is better than getting burned, that absence makes the heart grow colder, that alone is better than lonely-but-surrounded-by-people, que más vale estar solo que mal acompañado, that arms-length is better than knee-deep, that bad all by myself is better than let’s stay together.

Truly, the parenting priority must be to protect their hearts…because we just can’t get through this life without each other. And everyone deserves the beauty of unconditional love. The kind of love that sees and holds the loose threads and the finished pieces equally. That takes the meltdowns with the fireworks. That brings glue to broken pieces and meets wounds with tender kisses.

Won’t I make them soft? If I’m lucky. I hope so. Yes, please. Keep their bends soft before the world sharpens them into edges. Cradle their dreams closely while they know that all is promise.

I mean, of course parents teach actions and consequences. And please and thank you. And water safety. And fire safety. And skateboard safety. And we share with our friends. And you get what you get and you don’t throw a fit. And honesty is the best policy. And don’t hit your brother. And how to tie your shoe. And brush teeth twice a day. And yes, you have to shower. And no you can’t eat that. And here’s how you cook an egg. And spend some birthday money and save some too. And press this button to turn on the vacuum. And you can’t sharpen a pen. And two times three is six. And here’s how you solve for x. And ask if your teacher gives extra help. And we might have to Google it. And good, better, best. Never let it rest. And the world is wide. And you belong in it.

But parents are also teaching that big feelings are hard. And failure is tough - but what did you learn? And change is a challenge but what will you miss? And what do you look forward to? And slooooow, deep breaths can calm your body down. And punch a pillow when you’re mad. And stand in sunshine when you’re sad. And tap your fingers if you feel scared. And tell me what happened. I’m ready to listen. And do your brothers, cousins, aunties, uncles, grandparents have any advice? And what do you think you should do? And you made a mistake, so how can you make it better? And that was such a thoughtful gesture! And I love those color choices - you are such a good artist. And yes I saw that shot swish – buckets! And I’m so proud you reached your goal. And keep listening to your inner voice. And all you are is supposed to be. And love is universal. And you are surrounded by it.

In professional spaces, we often talk about “hard skills” and “soft skills”. Well, in our lives – our real lives, our daily grind lives, our rushing around lives, our “protect my peace” lives, we need to get clear about the essential, indispensable, life-saving soft skills required. Because…we’re supposed to be preparing these humans for how to live life. And living life requires emotional intelligence, heart preservation, and the ability to heal again and again. Let’s teach our babies what healing looks like. I promise you, one day, they’ll need it.

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