The Unexpected Result of Undivided Attention

“What cannot be communicated to the mother cannot be communicated to the self.” says John Bowlby.

Wow, that is a concept and a half! What does that sentence speak to you?

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A mother is created to be the receiver of her child’s very self. that is an immense and profound statement.

This amazing truth is beyond our full understanding; not only does a mother receive the life of her child, but the child is designed by God to share their all with their mama.

So much so is this reality, that without it, a child is hampered in knowing themselves and unable to “communicate to the self”. The mother/child bond is so interlinked that it builds the conditions for the child to know his own heart and mind.

Our identity and uniqueness comes from God in His creative power. To know oneself comes about rather mysteriously, but we know it comes through relationship outside our private self.

Our journey toward intimacy with God, comes about for a child, first through Mother and Father. Self-knowledge, understanding, and personal awareness is first experienced through our parents, and very much so through the nurturing bond of the mama.

As a child matures, they pass everything they encounter through their mother. They show, they ask, they tell, and they take cues from their mother. . A stable relationship has the child admiring and trusting the person they spend the most time with.

The child values most the opinion, direction, and influence of Mama at home. The youngster wants to please Mommy, and finds security and peace in this relationship.  The child’s very identity and sense of self is rooted in the relationship with their mother. 

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When the bond is safe and healthy, the child wants to share everything. Even when the child falters, commits a wrong, they are eager to find reconciliation through Mom. They anguish until things are set right and fall right again.

What a responsibility for the mother! I’m not minimizing the role of Fathers here – their time comes too, but the nurturing role of the mother is undeniable, especially in the early years. It means that moms must be confident in the calling God imparts to them.

It means they must be as fully engaged and alive in this mission. It requires fighting for motherhood and all it entails. It presents us with the reality that we must be intentional receivers – taking to heart our vocation, bestowed and blessed by God.

3 ways to Maximize Moments of Undivided Attention

Be alert to the times of exchange in a day.

Be awake to the moments of communication and interaction.

Be alive to the opportunities of conversation, deliberate and natural.

The way your child will know how beautiful they are is seen in your eyes, received in your heart, and reflected back in your words.

What is one thing you can do today to let your child know they have your undivided attention?


Therese has more helpful ideas tucked away in the Resource Library. Get access to more goodies over here.