Toni Morrison’s Parenting Advice


Last week, we were saddened to hear of the passing of author Toni Morrison.  There has been an outpouring of tributes, but the one that has stuck with us is this gem from one of our other favorite authors Brené Brown.

Brené writes:

“Morrison was on Oprah talking about her book The Bluest Eye. Oprah said, “Toni says a beautiful thing about the messages that we get about who we are when a child first walks into a room,” and she asked her to talk about it.

Toni Morrison explained that it’s interesting to watch what happens when a child walks into a room. She asked, “Does your face light up?”

She explained, “When my children used to walk in the room when they were little, I looked at them to see if they had buckled their trousers or if their hair was combed or if their socks were up. You think your affection and your deep love is on display because you’re caring for them. It’s not. When they see you, they see the critical face. What’s wrong now?”

Her advice was simple, but paradigm-shifting for me. She said:

“Let your face speak what’s in your heart. When they walk in the room my face says I’m glad to see them. It’s just as small as that, you see?”

As most of us head back into the busyness of a school year this week or next, let us remember to stay present in each parenting moment—conveying how happy we are to just be with our kids even when book bags are thrown on the floor or homework is left on the dining room table.

To read the entire article from Brené, click here.

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