Monday, 16 November 2015

With my daughter in Paris, I wanted to DO something ...

Asking for 'the good reason' ...

With my eldest daughter in France, living very close to Paris, today is a day to be grateful because she is save. As an au-pair she would have gone for a trip this weekend with her school but 'it didn't feel good' so she stayed at home.  She hadn't heard anything from  school what made her very cross and say: "I'll complain about that on Monday! Don't you think it's stupid?"

I have listened to her and emphasised that it isn't nice at all to notice 'silence' when there is so much going on! When the whole world is talking about those horrible attacks and your school doesn't even bother to contact you!
And on the other hand ... There is always an "AND" not to be confused with a "but"!
And, dear child of mine, next to that, please keep in mind there can be reasons why they didn't contact you. Let's hope it isn't true, but it is possible your teachers are dealing with some terrible issues.  
I have tried to educate this questioning for years in all kind of settings.
It is such a helpful sentence to make teens and adolescents talk to you! Even when they know they are "wrong" and they know you are upset or cross or in 'adult despair'. When you ask about their good reason, they mostly open up. 
I suppose you have a good reason for being so late?
You must have a good reason for not making your home work...
Looking at me in such an unfriendly way, surely must have it's good reasons...
They'll tell you. They'll even tell you a lot when you shut up and just look surprised (does work miracles!!) or nod or say "hmm, I see...".
Being able to tell the 'good reason' to someone who is really listening usually brings both parties closer to "the next positive step forward". Even when there is no good reason, the teen / adolescent feels awkward and sometimes ashamed because he/she has let his/her mother, teacher, mentor, father or boss down.
Most times a "It wouldn't happen again, sorry." or a respectful discussion about rules and boundaries accompanied with a genuine "Sorry" can be heard afterwards. So, yes, I think it is very helpful ...
I'm writing this wearing a sweater of my daughter. I felt grateful, sad and very restless and eagerly wanting to do something. What could I do to help all those frightened children? What could I do to be of help for their caring parents and au-pairs? I couldn't think of anything else than "writing from the heart".  
I suppose there will be children (young and "old") living in Paris who are going to be distracted and are going to behave badly or doing strange, silly things. As it can be the same for the adults. Can they stay focused at work, listen with their mind and soul to others, act with patience and tact?
If not ... I hope they'll hear something like 
...Tell me, what good reason do you have? ...
It's this what I can do best now, at this moment: writing.
Please if you think it would be helpful for others let them know. I wish you well, my thoughts are with you doing the best you can. Don't be too hard on yourself: you probably have a good reason when you're not able to ask about 'the good reason' ...
Warm smile, Ella

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