The mantra for this month of wholeness is the American Sign Language sign that means “I love you.” The ASL sign for “I love you” is an index finger and thumb extended in an “L” shape, middle finger and ring finger folded down, and pinkie finger extended upward.
Our physical sensations, emotions, and thoughts make up who we are. This month, try this way of focusing and steadying ourselves with a check in.
This mantra is a reminder of three kinds of wholeness. First, when we, as parents, teach this sign to our child, we can tell them that our love is with them always, always solid, always whole, never farther than the reminder at the end of their arm. Second, the three extended fingers can serve as a whole-person, self-check-in (see more about this below). And third, showing this sign to a loved one when they are doing or saying something uniquely, unapologetically “them,” we are reminding them that we not only love them, but we cherish and delight in the wholeness that is them!
Here’s how the ASL “I love you” works as a check-in:
1. Hold up the ASL sign for “I love you,” and touch your thumb. This finger reminds you to check in with your body: What sensation is in your body right now?
2. Touch your index finger. This finger reminds you to check in with your feelings. What feelings do you have right now? Take a moment to name them.
3. Finally, touch your pinkie finger. This finger reminds you to check in with your thoughts. What are you thinking? What are you telling yourself right now?
In times of disappointment, hurt, or anxiety, parents and children alike can do this self-check-in quietly at a desk or on a bus, briefly processing the difficulty until they can return to the family member or friend to whom they turn for love and support. Parents and children can make this sign to each other as they leave the house for the day and can use it to signal a readiness to debrief the day together in the afternoon or evening. And if it jibes with your family’s theology, you can use this symbol to remind you of the larger Love that unites the wholeness of creation, which some people call God.