This pandemic time may be a perfect opportunity to establish better communication in your family. On their latest Eyres on the Road podcast, Richard and Linda Eyre talk about a secret code for family communication that is based on animals that children love. Humpback whales never interrupt each other as they sing their deep-ocean songs. Crabs can be caught in a bucket and never escape because their instinct is to pull each other back. Elephants are both firm and tender with their great trunks. The tortoise beats the rabbit because he is steady and keeps on going. Redwood trees stand tall and strong in the wind because their roots intertwine below the ground.
Once these nature stories are told and understood, one single word can replace a lecture. When one child is criticizing another, the parent says “crab”. When someone is rude or interrupts, the parent gets eye contact and says “whale”. The Eyres talk about how to tell the stories and to get the drawings of all nine animal symbols and how to use them as reminders in improving children’s behavior.
The Eyres wrote a book that contains the nine animal metaphors and lays out the secret family code for private communication. It is called The Book of Nurturing because of its theory that a nurturing parent would rather teach children true principles and have a clear mutual understanding of how people can joyfully live together.