My daughter was telling me about an event in her school. A girl in her class drew an apple, and when she was done, said out loud: This drawing is garbage, utterly terrible!
My daughter was confused: But, mom, her apple looked so cool! It wasn’t terrible at all!
This story was another opportunity for me as a mom to remind my daughter of something we spoke about since she was a toddler.
It is something really simple but deeply beautiful and true, something we forget to remind ourselves of, and almost never teach our children.
I told her:
There are many people who love you and who will cheer for you: your mom, dad, relatives and friends. However, there will be moments in your life when you feel sad, discouraged, frustrated or scared, but find yourself without those people near you to root for you and cheer you on.
In those moments a little voice that lives inside your heart will speak to you. What it will say depends on what you teach it and what you put inside your heart now, in peaceful times.
Whenever my children do something good, accomplish any little progress or victory, I remind them to congratulate themselves. I jokingly say:
Don’t forget to give yourself a high-five!
When my children fail at something, make a mistake, or are disappointed about something they didn’t do well, I encourage them to be kind and loving to themselves, and to continue on their way, accepting occasional defeat as a normal part of life.
I reminded her of these times. and continued:
There will be moments when you will feel that things aren’t going the way you wish, and there will be people in your life who will make things difficult for you. In those moments the little voice inside you can make all the difference.
There are people whose little voice tells them negative things. When they don’t succeed in something, the voice tells them that they are bad, losers and that they deserve to be defeated. Their inner voice scolds them, making them feel even worse.
On the other hand, there are people whose inner voice is their ally and their biggest cheerleader. When they are down, it comforts them, saying all will be ok. When they fail at something, their inner voice encourages them to try again, reminding them of many times they did something well. When they are angry, their inner voice calms them down. It roots for them, holding their hand in times when they are alone, without those who usually support them.
My daughter loves this story, and remembers it as a game in her everyday life. I made it into a fun exercise, so she easily and spontaneously goes to it. When she studies or draws and makes a mistake, I sometimes hear her saying to herself: I can totally do this!
When I see her being this gentle and supportive towards herself, my heart feels as if thousand flowers sprung into bloom inside it.
We cannot be there for our children all the time, and more importantly, we should not aim to be. We should not be constantly jumping in, whenever they face trouble or difficulty as they make their way through life. However, we can give them tools which will help them gain confidence and develop inner self-support, crucial for emotional stability and well balanced identity.
This story about inner voice, little cheerleader inside our children’s hearts, is an useful parenting tool to help our children learn that it is all right to love themselves and treat themselves gently, as well as be their own motivators, encouraging, comforting and guiding themselves as they face different challenges of their lives.
Essence of parenting is being your children’s wings only until their own are strong enough for flight. Then it is time to encourage them to use their own wings, falling in love with the beauty and wonder of flight.
Do not forget this though:
Our children will believe in their ability to fly only if we believe in them first.
Credit via: Iva Izabela Miholic