The newsletter last week on the importance of connection touched so many of you. I absolutely LOVE hearing from you and how the newsletter impacts you. Thank you so much for sharing stories. I thought I’d continue on this path and share a concept that you may or may not have heard of. It’s closely related to “how” we connect or “in what way” to connect. The concept is called, “delighting in” and it’s important in both adult and child relationships.
To delight in – What does this mean? Let me explain through stories and examples.
Your baby giggles and your heart fills with joy. You giggle back and try to mimic the same behaviors that elicited the giggles. She giggles again and the room is filled with the beautiful sound of you and your baby laughing. You’re delighting in her.
You see your toddler run around the corner from daycare – excitement in his eyes to see you after a long day apart. He leaps into your arms, “I missed you daddy.” You say, “I missed you too, buddy” and revel in the sweet smell of him. You’re delighting in him.
Your nine-year-old gives a book report to his entire class of kids with parents watching on. You swell with pride, knowing the bravery and strides it took for him to stand and speak to 40 individuals. That’s delight.
Your twelve-year-old searches for you in the sea of parents at the choir concert. She’s nervous and fidgety until she finds you. She smiles, relaxes, and you smile back with a big thumbs-up, encouraging and providing safety from across the gym. You’re delighting in each other.
Your sixteen-year-old looks up after losing the race. He searches for you, for any hint of disappointment. But you simply lock eyes, put a hand over your heart, give space and smile proudly. He knows the love is unconditional. He delights in your love.
Your partner walks in the front door after a long day of work. You can smell him. Feel him. He walks over and embraces you and, despite the long day, you feel safer and calm. You’re delighting in each other.
You laugh with your family over an inside joke. No one else knows why you’re laughing. You all erupt with laughter and can’t hold back the joy in knowing. You’re delighting together.
Do you see? Delighting in portrays a mutual engagement of love, unconditionality, and physical and emotional safety. It’s the feeling of pure joy in another human being. And, as some authors say, it is the foundation for self-worth.
In the movie, My Life, with Michael Keaton, he talks about the importance of kids “marinating in love” from their parents. Then, when their good and ready, they can go out into the world.
Urie Brofenbrenner, a famous psychologist and researcher says, “Every child needs at least one adult who is irrationally crazy about him or her.”
I think adults need that too. Think of it this way – if you’re not delighted in as a child, what do you learn about your worth? How will that look in school, in relationships and, later, in your adult relationships? Think about adults you know – can you tell who’s been delighted in as youth, as professionals, as people? I bet you can.
Probably, one of the most rewarding parts of teaching and training is when adults who work with children understand this concept. I explain examples as shown above, often, met with tears from participants. “I don’t think I was ever loved this way.” “I’m not sure anyone every delighted in me.” “My life would have been so different.” These are all common responses I hear from folks.
But here’s the great news, you can heal. You can create delight in your children. In your students. In your patients. In your partners. Delight in them! Show them how irrationally crazy you are about them. Let them marinate in your love and watch how they change! It’s an incredible transformation.
Who will you delight in this week? Let me know.