Day 3 in Stockholm......
So after a busy week we are now sitting on the veranda outside our hotel in Stockholm, having just enjoyed a delicious lunch, and are now reflecting upon the past 24 hours. I wasn't really sure what to expect when we were told that we were having training about empathic communication, but nothing could have prepared me for how emotionally charged the session would be for me. We learnt how Swedish Practitioners really tune into the children's feelings in order to support and meet their needs. They don't only do this with the children but ensure that empathic communication is at the heart of their business. This was evident as we walked around the nurseries. Children are content and calm in their interactions with each other and adults. A huge part of empathic communication is not only listening but really hearing what they say so that you can connect with them. We were asked to find a space in pairs and spend five minutes each where one person would talk about whatever they liked and the other person just heard and listened without responding, verbally or non verbally......this was really hard!!! I realise how uncommon it is to talk without being interrupted and how long five minutes is!!! I was totally surprised at what I told Michelle in those five minutes and what she learnt about me as a person!! I said some things out loud that have only been in my head until this point.
Michelle and I have been really thinking a lot about how often as adults we really listen to how children are feeling, as this is just an indicator of what they need. How many times have we missed opportunities to meet the children's needs? How many times have we left children disappointed? We then started thinking about our team and occasions where team have tried to tell us their feelings and in the busyness of the day, we have dismissed them and sent them back to sort out problems themselves or solved them ourselves. What did they really need from us?! We can't wait to start using this with our children and team, but feeling a little nervous about how they will respond to this approach. It's not easy and not everyone likes talking about their feelings, especially when you really get to the root of why you feel that way. But surely this approach will only mean deeper connections which brings people closer together. So now we are on a mission, for people to have more awareness of others and we are looking forward to starting this journey!