A tenth grade boy complained to me, “Why is it so? For sixteen years I live together with my parents and we still can’t find any common language?”
We may describe all our difficulties with children as an inability to find a common language with them. The child doesn’t understand us! “How many times have I told you – don’t break your toys, they cost money!” And when a child is lazy we say, “I told you already, but you always don’t listen. First do your homework, then you may go out and play. Don’t you understand?”
In any language for this case there are lots of constant phrases that show a sharpness of the problem.
“Do you hear me?”
“Are you deaf?”
“Who am I talking to?”
“Am I talking to a wall?”
“I told you, didn’t you hear me?”
“Am I talking to you in a foreign language?”
“Don’t you understand my language?”
“How many times should I tell you?”
“How many times should I repeat myself?”
“I am tired of telling you the same thing over and over!”
“Do you need me to tell you a hundred times?”
“Why are you silent?”
“Did you swallow your tongue?”
Really, the child is as if he is deaf! As if he doesn’t understand the our language!
When young teachers, after their first practice at school, were asked what was the most difficult, eighty (!) percent responded, “To find a common language with children.”
It seems that the textbook on teaching children must be devoted to this topic; but it says. “It is necessary that you have a common language …” – and that’s it.
It seems to us that children really don’t hear us and that we must repeat ourselves, we need to tell them the third time, to shout, and he will hear, he will understand, and everything will be alright. But much of what we tell him will never reach him because we are not speaking the right language.
This common language is not a language of command and obedience; it is a language of desires. Common language is common desires. It is a language of faith. It is a language of hope. It is a language of love.
Children need communication with adults more than we do with them. While intelligence has not yet developed in them the soul occupies much more space in the internal world, almost all “space” in the psyche; but one of the main features of the soul is thirst for communication, not with another man, but with the soul of another man, with another soul. Without communication a childish soul doesn’t develop, it can’t love, believe, and hope – it dies.
Pushkin’s Faust, who “took all possible gains from life” and didn’t see any sense neither in deep knowledge, or glory, or honor, still admitted,
A straight goodness:
Joining of two souls…
“Straight,” real, the only goodness!
In our speech we say, “They live soul with soul,” “soul’s conversation,” “let’s talk by souls”; after a meeting “soul enlightened,” “soul is cleansed,” “it has relieved my soul,” “my soul calmed down.” About a man who understands me, “he looked into my soul,” “he understood my soul,” “soulful man.” A soulful man is not one who sees through me, who “intrudes into my soul,” but who touches my soul with his soul. Feelings, reflecting strength of desires, the expression of such feelings is the main means of communication with a child and with a teenager; even adults would not understand words without feelings. The first feature of feeling – is attention. To communicate – means to wake up feelings, to attract attention.
To communicate with children – doesn’t mean to talk to them, to converse, to answer their questions, which are also important. To communicate – is something different. Let’s approach the understanding of this state “joining of two souls,” inexpressible in words.
Parenting For Everyone, by S.Soloveychik, Book 3 Part 1 Chapter 3