Do you ever listen to your inner voice? Do you even notice its there? You are not sure? Tell me, do you have a self perception of capability and confidence, or a self perception of haphazardness and not good enough? Do you know you can rise to a challenge, or do you know you will fail so what's the point in even trying?
That's the silent whisper I am talking about. The silent self belief of who we are and what we can do, whether that be positive or negative.
Here is something a little deeper to think about. What is your child's inner voice? What is their self perception? What silent whisper do they have which is developing their awareness and belief of their own capabilities?
Here is the frightening answer...
The voice they have is yours. Your words, will shape their inner voice, their self belief, their perception of their own value and worth.
So what voice are you training it up to be?
Still unsure what I mean? Let me explain.
Think about your childhood experiences. Did you have parents who encouraged and supported you, or parents who constantly criticised (in not a constructive way!) or often told you that you got something wrong?
For the most part and generally speaking, those of you who had openly loving, supportive parents, who showered encouragement and made you feel important because they showed that to them you are; then my guess is you are a pretty balanced adult, with a pretty positive self belief and attitude to your own capabilities. You'll probably try your hand at everything and give it your best, with an internal confidence and a subconscious recognition of what you potentially can achieve inshaAllah.
For the most part, and again generally speaking, those of you who had less openly loving or unsupportive parents, who (although with no ill intention and actually most likely with the best of intentions) constantly critiqued everything you did, or were often too busy for you for whatever reason and left you feeling unimportant; then my guess is you might have a pretty negative self image of yourself. Perhaps feelings of unworthiness or a self belief that you never do anything right because what you can do will never be good enough.
What we say to our children and how we say it, leaves a subconscious impression and an understanding of how they fit into the society around them.
If we tell our children they are being stupid (such an ugly word for children to hear), or often nit pick and overly critique the work they produce as not good enough when they really have genuinely given it their best, then you'll see that actually, they will stop bothering.
They won't try because they know that no matter how much effort they put into it, you will still tell them they are wrong. So they just won't try. At least if they haven't tried, its not such a big deal when you come crushing their efforts. And before they know it, that's what they unconsciously begin to tell themselves in everything they do.
I'm not saying we shouldn't correct our children. No, they need correcting, they need showing how or why they may have gone wrong. But there are 2 different ways to say the same words, which actually relay 2 different meanings. We need to make clear our support even in their failures. They are learning, they will make a tonne of mistakes! But with each mistake is an opportunity to grow.
They need our compassion, our love, our warmth, our time and a whole host of other things! They need to feel safe in making mistakes with us. They need to know they can be honest about their struggles and we won't judge. They need to feel our loving guidance helping them to reach their full potential bi'ithnillah.
Our children are not the centre of our universe.....however, for the young child we are certainly theirs. We need to think carefully about what message our voices are telling them. Because it is that voice which is subconsciously telling them what value their place is in this universe. And it is that voice that they will eventually take on as theirs.