When we hear the word courage, we often associate it with being brave, to do something heroic, or step outside our comfort zone to try something we are afraid to do. Of coarse, as a parent, we want to encourage our children to try new things. We can be their biggest cheerleader to be brave, and try new things, but at what cost? Where do you draw the line? Do we truly allow them to be brave, by pushing them to do things they’re not quite ready to tackle? So, how do I feel we can allow children to practice real courage?
Honestly, when our Jojo was younger, I used to struggle to understand how she could do something, enjoy it, ask to do it again…. then a week later, no longer have any interest. Mind you, when this began, I was a completely different parent than I am now. I would drill her with questions, trying to understand how, and why, she could just “change her mind” about something she enjoyed so much. We would try to coax and convince her of how much fun she had before. Then, there came the moment I realized, I was being completely selfish. Most times it included riding rides we all wanted to ride together, or having sleepovers with family.
The Low Point
I convinced her to ride Space Mountain. I mean, she had already been on Thunder Mountain, Splash Mountain, and Everest several times each. How could Space Mountain be any worse??? Let me tell you, it was much worse. Listening to her scream to get off, and her having to sit alone, with no way for me to console her, other than from behind, I felt like the worst mother ever!!! I apologized profusely. I suppose I was thinking, trying to get her to ride with the rest of us, we were making memories together. Now I know, it was creating a distrust in our relationship. Was she going to trust me about trying new experiences?
When Things Changed
I finally decided to STOP making it about me, and what I thought she wanted, and embrace the opportunity to spend time with Jojo on my own. It was difficult for me to let go, since most times we would be at Disney parks with several families. This meant I had to miss out on, ( sometimes much needed) “mommy time” with the other moms. But, more importantly, I was able to create many special memories, with my Jojo. She got lots of mommy time. Something we will each never forget. Especially now, since my girls are older, and prefer to walk around without their mother.
There are SO MANY more examples I could share about our childrens’ REAL courage. From standing up for others, not wanting to ride a bike, refusing to sleep over at a family member’s house, and being “anti-social” when everyone else is hanging out. Just like most things in life, it is all about how you choose to look at it. I choose to commend my girls for being difficult, and challenging me. Because the truth is, they were choosing to be courageous!! I believe they will become stronger women because of it.
Lessons I Learned
My child was not being a difficult pain in the @$$, she was practicing real courage, and vulnerability to admit her fears, regardless of what anyone else was going to think about her.
We can find magical moments in what appear to be difficult times, if we choose to embrace the moment. Isn’t our goal as a parent to raise children to think for themselves? So why would we suppress it?
Please share your children’s courageous stories with us on Instagram!!