Physical beauty and personal charm is a true advantage in life. It’s so easy to be enamored by a cute little boy or girl as you watch them romp at a playground with their dad, or see them clinging to a shopping cart with their mom. Pretty curls or charming smiles naturally draw attention from strangers. (Please, I’m not talking about ‘weirdos’).
It’s very difficult for me to find a child that has no charm, but when I do, I immediately think about what may be going on in that child’s life. When eyes sparkle and when smiles are wide, children radiate their inner happiness and beauty. But vacant eyes and somber looks, notwithstanding a bad cold or a stomachache, are windows into their backstory.
When I see a child like this, a child who seems melancholy, I look up at the adult they are with, assuming they are the parent/grandparent. What is in their eyes? How are they reacting to, or interacting with their child? I don’t often say hello or smile at a young child with a far-off look. It doesn’t see welcomed to do so either by the child or his/her parents. It could be just a bad day all-around and you don’t want to mess with that. But children at risk are the kids that most need a boost to their ego or a compliment to remember.
Where am I going with this? I guess it is a reminder that is a family’s responsibility to provide an environment that will allow a child to thrive. No one will love your child as much as you do. No one will have more influence than you. Even if they are tutored by a near Leonardo Di Vinci, a parent will have the early influence that will shape them. Words of confidence, acts of love, and corrections as necessary will be the tools to shape them in the best way you can.
It’s a fact that 34 million children live in a one-parent home. Many more live in homes where parenting is an afterthought to existence. Those children may experience some inattention. So as a stranger, or as a friend or neighbor, consider smiling or giving words of praise to a child, and not just the cute lovable ones. It’s a tough choice, to mind your own business or take a chance and engage in a positive way. Those blessed children aren’t as likely to be in need of attention. They are the fortunate ones with loving guidance at home. The sullen children can appear unattractive, but there are no ugly children, just those looking to escape into the shining light. Those who would be surprised at being noticed in a positive way.