So often we hear adults conversing and during a single conversation they will change their viewpoint every few minutes to align themselves with whoever is speaking. Even though, every person has views and opinions many are never voiced, simply because people haven’t been encouraged and inspired to share their standpoint. As parents we can assist our children, in developing the skills to share their voice, from when they are still tiny tots.
Until a child goes to school the home provides the primary influence within their life. What the child sees and hears happening at home is what they’ll imitate. Unfortunately the saying “do as I say and not what I do,” has no meaning for little people. Children are created to imitate, it’s the way they were programmed to learn about the world and how they should respond to it. Have you ever wondered why a child has good or bad manners, or where they learned the vocabulary they use? How often have they dressed in mom or dads clothes and said, “Look, me Dad.” The same goes towards their intellectual development and attitudes.
If parents and later teachers value books, learning and excellence a child will value these too. We often scoff at the “whys” of a two year old and yet he is often truly searching. As they look around the home they make connections and satisfy their “whys” of daily life. As they get older however their minds desire to stretch and pull out further. This is often beyond the walls of the home and the streets of their town. Their “why” draws them out across field and mountain, shore and sea even right into the heart of the universe. From here they desire to step deeper into understanding life, fear, ecstasy, pride, victory and failure. Many of these stretch beyond his immediate experience so it’s through the reading of great books that they can dive into another place time and meet new people. This in turn will stretch and grow their person. Don’t however stop here, throw before them the histories, arts, music, handcrafts and long nature walks. Then you’ll see that even the young child has deep powers of attention, retention, assimilation and curiosity that will help them draw from these meaning and a deeper understanding about life. As we feed our children this “mind stuff” they begin to take up their journey into self-education.
By adults making their speech colourful and full of life, using big words when talking to a child, talking slowly and stopping between ideas we are training a child to think carefully before he speaks. To choose his words carefully, to have breaks between topics and clearly construct his thoughts encourages a child to consider what they are saying and to say it well.
Yes this does begin upon the mother’s knee as the young child is read to often during their early years. To know a world lies beyond those silent pages, the child soon begins desiring to acquire the gift of reading for themself. As they charter and explore these new lands deep rooted personal views and opinions begin to grow. As we mirror good speech patterns, encourage great books and curiosity and we value our children and their opinions from a young age, they are well on their way to developing opinions and a voice that they will uphold and will be clearly heard in life.