February 4 2020

The Power of Showing Up

Over the Christmas break I was reminiscing with my nearly ninety year old mum about some special times I spent with her when I was young.

As the eldest of four children, spending time with mum was a treat whether it was reading books, special walks or outings together. Those times of showing up are etched into my memory.

I was reminded of a new book, The Power of Showing Up, written by Tina Payne Bryson and Dan Seigal, which is based on the latest brain and attachment research.

The Power of Showing Up reminds us of the importance of being there for our child or children and gives some practical suggestions.

Longitudinal research on child development suggests that one of the best predictors for how any child turns out—in terms of happiness, social and emotional development, meaningful relationships, and even academic, leadership and career success—is whether at least one adult in their life has consistently shown up for them.

The writers share that it doesn’t take a lot of time, energy or money to ‘show up’—showing up means offering a quality of presence to your child through four building blocks for a healthy development.

These four S’s are as following:

• Safe: We can’t always insulate a child from injury or avoid doing something that leads to hurt feelings. But when we give a child a sense of safe place, she will be able to take the needed risks for growth and change.

• Seen: Truly seeing a child means we pay attention to his emotions—both positive and negative—and strive to attune to what’s happening in his mind beneath his behavior.

• Soothed: Soothing isn’t about providing a life of ease; it’s about teaching your child how to cope when life gets hard, and showing him that you’ll be there with him along the way. A soothed child knows that he’ll never have to suffer alone.

• Secure: When a child knows she can count on you, time and again, to show up—when you reliably provide safety, focus on seeing her, and soothe her in times of need, she will trust in a feeling of secure attachment. And thrive!

So in this season of family times, reflect on those who showed up for you as a child. I hope these will bring a smile to your face.

Consider how you can show up for your child during these uncertain times and how you as a family can grow in this wonderful quality. ‘Showing up’ has the potential to make a difference for the future as you build resilient, caring and strong children.


Gail Maidment,
Executive Director
Generations Christian Education