If you are not being yourself through words and behavior, then who and what are you? It should be evident that when we are most vulnerable, we need to experience love, touching, being talked to, and being listened to.
A baby’s babble is what I refer to here. It is the way they first communicate. The tears and utterings are all significant. The parent who pays attention to this knows that the baby is communicating with what voice and feelings they have. The baby must express itself and needs the audience of those that sustain its life.
If the parent is not committed to being the listener, how else is the baby nurtured to be itself? Yet, it is not only listening but also confirming that is necessary. Confirming means responding to the baby so the baby knows it is heard and perhaps even understood. This is the nurturing process; the baby’s voice is heard and confirmed. What an affirmation this must be to the baby.
If this continues, the baby grows as itself, as it must, or conflict arises. It might be difficult for many parents to understand and appreciate that the baby is a sponge absorbing almost everything and every sound taking place. In fact, the babies’ antennas are ultra-sensitive to the parent’s behavior and likely their intentions.
Here is a crucial dilemma. Do the parent(s) have their own picture of what their baby is to be and become? How is this conveyed to the baby, and does the baby have a fighting chance? My history tells me it does not. The baby does not have the tools to win their own voice. Like the aging I write and talk about, we can win some battles but lose the war in the long run. The power those who lead have is either used to empower those close to them to be as much themselves as possible or used to power’s own benefit. It is the way it has always been.