The ABC of Child Whispering: R is for REAL

Working with children is both a privilege and a great blessing. They transform our understanding of the world and help us to become more real!


Of course the process of becoming “REAL” can be both joyful and painful!


This is my favourite excerpt about becoming REAL! (From the Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams.)


The toys are chatting one day……….

“Real isn’t how you are made said the skin horse. It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real”

 “Does it hurt? asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes”, said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”

 “Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

 “It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand”.

 Teachers and parents understand this. The whole process of becoming real IS painful and parenting and teaching will leave you raw, hurting, worn out but also (occasionally) incredibly grateful and joyful.

Kids always pick out the non-real teachers and make their life hell. They have an uncanny knack of doing this but also change quickly when a teacher shows their REAL side.

  • They read faces

  • Listen to voices

  • Look for congruence of actions and speech and if they don’t see it will not believe you!

They are wonderfully forgiving but will not EVER wholly their best to those who are not real.

Kids want us to become authentic and to share who we are and to really BE there for them.

Children ALWAYS know the difference between real/not real!


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