I Didn’t Cause That Frown
If you’ve felt like you’re about to get in trouble
when you walked into a frown,
this book is for you.
If you’ve ever worried you caused your friend’s frown,
though you’ve thought and thought about what you did,
when, really, you didn’t do anything at
this book is for you.
If you’ve ever thought an expressionless face meant
you weren’t liked
this book is for you.
If facial expressions are a communication mine field,
leaving you unsure, anxious and unconfident<
this book is for you.
Verbal communication isn’t just words; verbal communication = words + tone + body language.
Tone: provides clues on how the listener needs to receive words spoken – tones of friendship and enmity, love and hate,
playfulness, competitiveness, anger, f rustration, sadness, grief, seriousness confusion, sarcasm.
Body Language: adds further clues about how the words spoken need to be received – whether fingers are relaxed
or clenched into fists, one’s stance – and facial expressions.
Words: “Language; living speech; oral expression; Language; living speech; oral expression, Account; tidings; message.
Bring me word what is the issue of the contest. affirmation, purpose expressed” (Noah Webster, 1828 Dictionary)
I’m a literalist – I take words literally – the emotions of tone and body language are often lost on me.
Watching my jaw drop at their conversational antics, my boys will joke, “Do we need to turn on the neon sign for Sarcasm?”
Years ago, after a frustrating discussion with one son (probably about chores left undone), I walked into the kitchen, talking calmly to another son, who drew back, asking, “Mom, why are you shouting at me?”
I paused, “Is my face still shouting at _________? I’m not shouting – and I’m sorry. My face is still shouting at your brother.” (Please keep in mind an intense, passionate discussion about finishing chores might feel like shouting, but it’s mostly just a passionate discourse – and causes a “shouting” face.)
Shouting faces were hardest of all for him. Teachers with shouting faces, coaches with shouting faces, a friend who came to school with a shouting face. . . . when you see a shouting face, a sad face. . . how do you feel? Do you feel worried you’re in trouble or it’s your fault? More often than not, another person’s facial expressions are caused by something that happened before we saw a facial expressions. . . and it’s important to learn steps to processing another’s facial expression and our response. Some people do that without thinking. Others need to learn the patterns of that process.
This particular son didn’t hear tone. He was diagnosed a few years earlier with Central Auditory Processing Disorder(CAPD). Kids and adults with CAPD hear well without background noise, but when background noise is added, it is difficult to discern a complete message. For example, he would hear two out of three words correctly, or mis-hear words. Those with CAPD don’t see patterns in reading, grammar, writing, and math readily, yet, with patterns can be broken down and mastered in the breaking down. I also assumed that if those with CAPD didn’t see patterns in reading, grammar and math – then patterns in behavior probably weren’t readily discerned either. Not hearing complete directions, mis-hearing words. . . . Words without tone are a potential veritable minefield for a child, even an adult.
Communication without tone is hard enough – but when body language and facial expressions are added – every face met during a day, unless it’s a smiling face, becomes a challenge. Learning math, science, reading and grammar challenges kids every day – just the science of learning. Add in socialization, and the day becomes possibly more difficult – and at the end of the day, an emotionally exhausted child spills into the car or through the front door overwhelmed.
I Didn’t Cause That Frown is written and designed to help kids – and adults – who struggle with communication, who need a process to diffuse the stress to better understand the facial expressions they walk into every day. . . to realize that a facial expression is sometimes separate from its owner’s relationship with you. . . .
The irony is not lost on me that a book to help diffuse the stress of encountering facial expressions is being released during a time where the world is wearing face masks. For years, I looked for books on facial expressions. Rene Descartes had pictures of facial expressions, but nothing to help me as a parent help my child. All I can say is that this is a book that’s been on my heart for about 20 years – there are few, if any, books available to help children or adults overcome communication challenges. The only place I have ever managed to find communication coaching was at a university with a deafness center. There is no place near us with that option.
Yes, my boy is grown up. Yes, people are wearing face masks, covering those frowny, sad, angry faces. But, friends, it’s all about God’s timing! He dropped this lyrical story into my heart while I was stirring a pot in the kitchen one busy, crazy day. I wrote it on an envelope at my kitchen counter. Between then and now, aortic valves have been replaced, three new grandchildren welcomed into our family, cancer overcome, the last son graduated high school, a spine fused. God gives dreams – and if you never give up on them, works them out in His best way, in His best time. How do I feel? I feel like I have fulfilled a promise to my mama-heart – and I couldn’t rest until I’d done that.
Much thanks to my talented, kind illustrator, Lynda Farrington Wilson. She was wise calm, generously patient when I dove down rabbit holes with our furry cast of puppy characters, rabbit holes that didn’t need diving into. The illustrator process phase was exactly what I needed, though, and am so very grateful to Lynda’s grace with those rabbit holes.
I Didn’t Cause That Frown takes one through an ordinary school day, and guides the reader to learn how to respond to frowny, angry and sad faces with a clearer understanding of their peers’ expressions. This interesting school day reveals to the reader that although your friend has a frown, or a sad face, that doesn’t necessarily mean it has anything to do with you.
Maybe you have a child who needs help processing the facial expressions he or she walks into every day. Maybe a friend or loved one needs help with the facial expressions they encounter daily. If so, you can find I Didn’t Cause That Frown here.
Remember Me Monday: #21 & Linky
“I’ll make a list of God’s gracious dealings,
all the things God has done that need praising,
All the generous bounties of God,
his great goodness to the family of Israel—
~ Isaiah 63:7, The Message
In the Old Testament, God repeatedly, quietly and loudly, tells his children, “You have forgotten me!” (Jeremiah 3:32, Ezekiel 22:12, to name a few). It’s a heart cry from a father to a child who has forgotten all the love, all the saving, helping, little and big blessings – and it leaves me stunned when I realize our Father, the creator of the universe, who knows things I cannot begin to fathom, who authors storylines that leave me amazed, delights in all of us so much, He cries out, “Remember Me.”
While every day is a Remember God Day, I am inviting you to join me on Monday mornings to come by and remember what God has done for you, for your family. Maybe God sent a cardinal darting out in front of you, as if to tell you, “I’m here,” or broke a child’s fever after you laid it all down at His feet in a 2 a.m. bedside vigil. Maybe He stood with you in the wait of a prayer sent out, or brought someone you loved to Christ. Maybe He healed your broken heart, gave your courage, or you gave Him your dreams as a love offering only to have Him give them back in an unimaginable way. Maybe God helped you survive to bedtime after a crazy Monday, or forgive yourself for missing it with your kiddos –– Whatever it is, let’s Remember Him. . . in a “Remember Me Monday” love letter.
“My mouth will tell of your righteousness,
Of your salvation all the day long,
Though I know not its measure.
I will come and proclaim your mighty acts, O Sovereign Lord”
~ Psalm 71:15-16.
Let us delight in Him by telling the stories of what He’s done! If you wrote a blog post remembering what He’s done for you, join the linky. If you didn’t but still want to praise Him for what He’s done – write it in the comment section. Then visit a comment before or after yours! One of the beautiful things about the blogging community is the relationships it builds!
Rules? Write long or short, a list or a story, include photos or not. Just Remember Him and what He has done, and let the gratitude of your heart guide you. Let’s make Monday so Rejoice, that the goodness of God spills into the rest of the week!
Places I’m Linking at This Week:
Inspire Me Monday, Grace & Truth,
Purposeful Faith, Tell His Story,
https://welcomeheart.com/blog, Worth Beyond Rubies,
Share a Link Wednesday, Let’s Have Coffee,
Grace and Truth, Faith on Fire,
Congratulations on your book! I’ve done that–seen someone frowning and wondered if they are upset with me or frowning about something else. I’m sure a processing disorder makes it even harder to interpret or reason through the situation. This sounds like such a great resource!
Thanks Barbara – it is a resource I wish I had a long time ago! All in God’s time, though – right? I hope it helps others the way I needed it to help! ~ Maryleigh
Thank you Pam for linking here! Monday Morning glitches! Wishing you much Shalom in your week! ~ Maryleigh
Congratulations Maryleigh! How very exciting to see your dream fulfilled 😀
And what a great book, I could have really used this book when I was practicing. Being a family Counselor it would have come in handy for children on the Spectrum.
It will have many applications.
I am hopeful that it will find its way to the children who need it! Thank you, Jennifer! ~ Maryleigh
This book sounds great!
Hoping it reaches the hands of the children it would benefit! Thanks Lauren, ~ Maryleigh
Maryleigh … this is fascinating. Shouting faces. Yes, I hear what you’re saying. I’m off to check out your book.
This is golden.
Thank you so much, Linda! In-The-Dumps-Grumps faces, too! Let me know how you like it!
Congratulations on your book! It sounds amazing, I’ve never heard of CAPD but I can definitely relate to feeling as if an expressionless or frowny face is because someone didn’t like me or I’d done something wrong. I also loved this – “God gives dreams – and if you never give up on them, works them out in His best way, in His best time”.
Life without hearing tone, from what I’ve seen, is incredibly challenging! I hope it helps kiddos diffuse communication challenges they struggle with! And yes!!! Don’t give up on the dreams God has given you, too, Wemi!!! What a plan He has! ~ Maryleigh