Behavior IS Communication!

I cried reading this. I wish I could hand it to everyone who has told me “behavior is subjective, it doesn’t count.”
Why is it, I wonder, that people understand babies’ behaviors and toddlers’ who haven’t learned to speak yet; that there is no question in anyone’s mind when a baby cries one way it means one thing and a scream means something entirely different, and yet, when they become a child old enough to talk, but can’t, these things become meaningless?? Everyone knows that if a baby is reaching for something or looking at something, they want it and if they don’t get it they will become frustrated and so someone gives it to them if they cry;but, when someone should be able to get it on their own and can’t, somehow that frustration is wrong and their eye gaze and attempts at reaching it mean nothing??

It is such a battle to try and convince people of this simple premise, one they accept without a thought when it comes to babies and discard without a thought when it comes to older children and adults. And, this, this believing in “behavior is communication” is our window into our children’s world. It’s a heavy responsibility, this constant watching for the merest flicker of “want” or “need” , but it’s there, and I just can’t understand why so many people cannot hear it with their eyes.

a diary of a mom

I am in an unfamiliar place.

I do not speak the language, nor know the local customs.

I do not feel well.

I approach a woman nearby.

“Excuse me, please,” I say. “I don’t mean to bother you, but I have a stomach ache. Can you help me?”

She puts her finger to her lips and shakes her head. I try to figure out why. Maybe it’s not an okay time to talk. Maybe she understands my words differently than I intend them. Maybe she thinks I just told her to put her head where the sun don’t shine. Whatever the reason, it’s clear that I haven’t communicated the way that I was supposed to.

What I don’t know is that, in this culture, it is not considered acceptable for outsiders to approach villagers. It’s just not done. 

My stomach really hurts. I need help. So I try again.

“Excuse me, ma’am,” I…

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2 Responses to Behavior IS Communication!

  1. Patricia says:

    I love your comment, and agree with my whole heart. I posted a link to your blog, to this comment, on my Facebook page. It’s so moving and REAL and TRUE. Thank you for putting it into words.

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