Everyday, as parents, we are expected to serve as role models for our children and to set a good example of what kind of adult we hope they become. There are endless philosophies and tutelage written about raising resilient and strong children. My observation, over the past several years, is that we put too much pressure on ourselves as parents, and fail to acknowledge the intuition and raw comprehension our children have.
On a recent car ride with my four-year old and six-year old the notion of bravery came up. What does bravery really mean, and who are the bravest people we know? Heavy stuff for such a young and fun-loving crowd, who usually prefer jamming out to T.Swift!
Who is brave?
This was an easy one for my two lovies to tackle. Merida, from Brave, is brave, duh? All the princesses and their handsome princes are brave for tackling evil in the quintessential Disney movies.
The girls thought harder…”Mommy is brave because she’s not afraid of the dark, or the creepy side of the basement.” “Dad is brave because he caught the ugly spider in the bathroom.” “Gigu is brave because she had surgery and didn’t cry.”
What does bravery really mean?
No one offered up an answer for this question until they heard mine. So…off the cuff, without so much as a single glance at a parenting article, I let it rip…
Being brave means:
– standing up for what you believe in,
-allowing yourself to love, even when it hurts,
-knocking down obstacles that get in the way of what you really want,
-tackling your fears,
-putting others first.
As I was answering, I reflected on our family’s weekend activities. Bravery comes is different shapes and sizes.
My six-year old showed bravery by running her very first race.
My four-year old exhibited bravery by cutting off her long hair to donate to charity.
My mother-in-law embodies bravery as she recovers from an operation she was told she could not have; as she heals and grows stronger everyday, her bravery is endless.
So I turned back to my crew, and asked…what does bravery really mean to you?
“Bravery is being strong, bravery means when you want to cry, try harder.”
“Bravery means, if you are lost in the woods, never stop looking to find your way out.”
“Bravery means, if you’re scared of something, get braver, so you’re not scared.”
When my daughters respond to thoughtful matters with such well articulated, exactness…it makes me stop, catch my breath and realize, I’m not really teaching them, am I? I’m just the one in charge, trying not to mess it up; at the end of the day, they are helping to guide me.
Latest posts by vtnative (see all)
- A Letter to my Middle Daughter, who is Exactly Like her Father - May 1, 2017
- True Story…I am the Worst Ever! - April 3, 2017
- On Raising Strong Women - March 9, 2017