My daughter, Arwen, is on her spring break this week. We’ve been enjoying wonderful time together and deepening our strong connection even further. I’m sure it’s the same for most parents in that we use every opportunity to teach something to our children about how the world works and their innate importance. Something happened yesterday, though, that if left unattended could have wounded her self-esteem if left unchallenged. In order to protect her belief in self, I had to step into discomfort… with both feet. The choice was easy of course, but still uncomfortable nonetheless.
We’d been painting one of our tables all morning, and it was time to get some fresh air and physical activity. I asked her if she wanted to go for a walk, but she asked if we could go to her school playground so she could show me how she can now hang from the monkey bars. She was beaming. There was no question she would have this opportunity to shine.
There were a zillion children on the playground equipment, squealing and laughing the way children do. Arwen ran to join them. A woman stopped me when I go close enough and said Arwen couldn’t play with the others or be in the same area. She shared words about liability and fault and how we could return when they were finished. As we talked, Arwen walked away from the playground with the posture of someone who was trying to hold it together. When I caught up with her, the tears fell and she told me she was told she wasn’t allowed to play with the other children. One of her best friends was on the playground apparently, so it cut twice as deeply. I explained what the day care woman was sharing, reassuring her that it had nothing to do with her as a person. But it was too late; she had already internalized this experience by thinking she wasn’t good enough or something was wrong with her. She confirmed this to me later, but intuitively I knew this. We returned to the woman and although I had even offered earlier to sign a waiver releasing them from any harm that may occur, she chose to call all the day care children off the playground and leave. So we played and laughed and soon other children came to the playground. Best of all, Arwen got to show me how big she was on the monkey bars.
Throughout this ordeal, that little voice in the back of my head was trying to get my attention and sway me from the outcome I wanted. I heard it – it was very loud. I felt uncomfortable during the conflict. Yet I knew that it was important. So I persevered. It’s the same with anything. We must challenge those things that attempt to keep us from what’s important to us, and those things that would chip away at our self-esteem, value, and worth. It’s not always easy. Most often it is never comfortable. But it is vital to stay focused on the outcome. You, and perhaps others, will thank you in the end.
Wishing you all the best as you unlock your potential and experience your possibilities.