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Nonverbal Lessons

Nonverbal Lessons

Recently our city had an outdoor fair at a park downtown. It was a beautiful, sunshiny day so we decided to take the children. When we walked in the entrance to the park, one organization was handing out kites. Another was handing out helicopter spinners. Another provided sidewalk chalk. The park was the perfect setting.

The children had looked at the helicopter spinners and didn’t quite know what to do with them. Helicopter spinners are straight sticks attached to what looks like a helicopter blade at the top. These were made out of blue plastic. Wooden sticks are sometimes used as well.

Only Jeff knew what to do with the unusual sticks. He adeptly put the stick between his hands and began to roll it back and forth. At the right moment, he let it go and it soared high overhead before landing on the grass. He did it several times and people in the crowd began watching. Our other children tried to make their helicopter spinners fly like Jeff’s but with no luck.

“Jeff,” they said, “how did you get your spinner to go so high? Everybody is watching you.”

“I had one in Haiti. We made ours out of sticks and played with them all the time. They’re really fun.”

Jeff grew up in Haiti where toys were fewer and simpler. He spent hours learning how to fly helicopter spinners. Now he was showing his new brother and sisters how to play with one of the toys he played with in his native country.

We teach our children lessons every day, even when they are young, that stay with them as they grow older. Some things seem insignificant. Others we practice every day.

For example, another of our children asked for a book while we were riding in the car. The only book I had was my Bible. I passed it back to her. She looked up and said, “I need a pen.” Puzzled for a moment, I handed her a pen. As she began to read the Bible, she carefully followed along with the pen. Although she was a toddler, she had seen her mom in her quiet time and wanted to be “just like Mom.”

Many times we don’t realize our children are learning as they watch us. And often the things they learn at an early age, such as the importance of a quiet time or the fun of a toy, stay with them as they grow older.

No matter what their ages our children are watching us. Make sure the nonverbal lessons you teach are as strong and valuable as the verbal ones.

By: Linda Gilden is an award-winning writer, speaker, editor, certified writing and speaking coach, and personality consultant. Linda is the author of 19 books and over 1000 magazine articles. Linda tries to be mindful that the lessons she is teaching, both verbal and nonverbal, point her children and grandchildren to God’s wisdom.

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