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Signing With Babies And Children: Political Signs

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Thursday, October 2, 2008

Political Signs

It would be hard to miss all the media coverage about the upcoming presidential election. Magazines, television, newspapers, and websites – they’re all filled with information about the two candidates, their running mates, their personal histories, and their political leanings. What’s especially striking, however, is the attention that is paid to the candidates’ family life. The spotlight is almost equally shared with their spouses and children. Why is this? Perhaps we realize that having a close-knit, happy family says a lot about a potential leader and, regardless of political party, we trust in that closeness.
So what makes a close-knit, happy family? The answer is certainly not a simple one, but ultimately, happy families are built by healthy relationships and healthy communication. And such connections start at the very beginning, as soon as you become a parent.
Hillary was at the market with her 10-month-old son, Ryan. As she pushed her cart through the aisles, Ryan sat facing her. Hillary told me: “Ryan started brushing his hair with his hand. He was trying to tell me something. I recognized the sign, LION.” Hillary was puzzled. Where would he have seen a picture of a lion – perhaps on a box or package? She looked, but didn’t see anything. “Ryan kept signing LION over and over, but I couldn’t find it,” she said. Finally, Hillary saw a stuffed animal lion on top of the freezers. “I acknowledged it by signing LION to Ryan and his eyes lit up. He was so happy to be understood! The rest of the shopping day we talked and signed about lions. When daddy came home we told him about the lion we saw.”
So what does this simple story have to do with the upcoming elections? It’s all about connecting – with voters, yes, but more importantly it’s about connecting with your most important constituents of all time, your children. It’s never too early to build the foundation of the sacred parent-child relationship, just keep your eyes out for lions.
Signing with your child is one of the first steps in developing a close relationship. Signing goes beyond the basics of daily vocabulary, it is about feeling understood. It is about empowering your little one to tell you what he or she want, needs, and thinks. By using sign language within the larger context of a communicative style of parenting, we believe in the miraculous effects of signing upon the entire parent-child relationship.

Let the Sign Shine!

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