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Heartfelt Thoughts

“Time is up when the heart stops.
As long as you’ve got a beat in your heart it’s time to make your wildest dreams come true.”
~ Taraji P. Henson

The heart is a complicated organ. Only the size of a fist, it’s able to pump blood throughout the body’s entire circulatory system. However, beyond its anatomical prowess, the heart also represents love, feelings, and caring.

Charles Dickens wrote, “A loving heart is the truest wisdom.” Parenting author Stephen Pfeiffer writes extensively about “heart strengths.” These include compassion, humility, integrity, respect, and forgiveness—the ways we (ideally) interact with and respond to others. Counsellor and author Paula Prober explains how thinking and understanding are intertwined with heart, mind, soul, and spirit, all working together. She compares this to an “ecosystem,” with the heart being an integral part of that. And, L. Frank Baum wrote, “A heart is not judged by how much you love, but by how much you are loved by others.”

These authors’ messages are just four of many that denote that the heart does not function independently. Taking that a step further, what else can the heart teach us about connectivity—and family bonds? Here are some other compelling heart-related quotes, alongside suggestions for parents and kids to consider.

THE IMPORTANCE OF KINDNESS

“If you find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.”
~ Maya Angelou

Be kind. Be patient. Be attentive. Look after one another. Be willing to extend ideas (even crazy ones), join forces, and buoy one another’s efforts. Pursue your interests—but be considerate and check out others’ interests, too! Collaborate, and participate in different kinds of activities. Find, share, and enjoy creative opportunities, family traditions, and fun. Play, grow, and learn collectively.

THE BITS AND PIECES OF LIFE

“Sometimes the smallest things take up the most room in your heart.”
~ A. A. Milne (Winnie-the-Pooh)

Small steps and accomplishments, little laughs and quick hugs, short but meaningful words of solace or praise—they all matter. A simple word or gesture can make a huge difference to someone’s day or improve their outlook. One high-five, fist-pump, flower, card, cookie, or smile can encourage, motivate, and convey warmth and caring. By discovering those tiny keys that allow entry into someone else’s heart space (or by revealing keys to your own) you could unlock possibilities for mutually satisfying experiences.

COMFORT ZONES

“Home is where the heart is.”
~ attributed to Pliny the Elder

Security is paramount for children, and their home is a place where their safety should be non-negotiable. Ensure that there are familiar routines and plenty of room for compromise, open communication, and honest give-and-take. When family members don’t agree with one another, or kids encounter thorny situations, let them know there will be a way forward and that you’ll muddle through challenges and navigate the terrain together.

EMOTIONS

“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched—they must be felt with the heart.”
~ Helen Keller

Emotions can leave kids feeling high or low. There are various ways to help them learn to accept, validate, and regulate emotions, such as by creating calm places and times to connect, finding supports, and reading stories about those who experience things that touch their heart. Increasing self-awareness by naming and understanding what underlies feelings encourages children to recognize that when a heart speaks it’s wise to listen. Family members can also demonstrate how they manage their emotions, and appreciate those “best and most beautiful things.”

FINAL THOUGHTS

“Every heart sings a song, incomplete until another heart whispers back…”
~ Plato

Be a heart whisperer—a conveyer of encouragement and a source of strength for others. And, in truth, you need not whisper. You can speak softly, or enthusiastically and joyfully, or even sing out loud. But just remember to connect because hearts are not meant to beat alone.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: This article is updated from one written by Dr. Joanne Foster that was featured in issues of Best Version Media’s Neighbours Magazines, and distributed across Ontario, Canada.

Dr. Joanne Foster

Dr. Joanne Foster, an acclaimed author and educator, has dedicated over 35 years to gifted education and child development. With expertise in psychology and special education, her work empowers parents and educators, fostering creativity and high-level learning in children and teens.

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