Friday, May 17, 2013

I Think I Can, I Think I Can...

Nothing brings me greater joy than to watch my children succeed. I could sit for hours watching them do something they enjoy. The way their faces light up with pride at each accomplishment, they way they search the crowd for my reaction, my clapping hands, my smile and nod of approval, or every so often, my yelp of excitement. Sometimes my joy is just too much to contain. My dad was watching me the other day as I watched one of the kiddos and he said it was just as entertaining to watch me as it was to watch his grandchild. He said I flinched, leaned, rocked and jumped; my toes curled and I smiled constantly.

I am so blessed that I have children who are willing to try. They don’t always succeed, and I wouldn’t want them to. When they fail, it is my desire that I am teaching them to find the message, the lesson, in their mistake and to show themselves grace. To accept they are not perfect and to move on.

What I find humorous is that when I find a “soapbox” to stand upon, it inevitably becomes apparent that I need to be looking in the mirror from high upon my soapbox. That I should be treating myself with the same grace I preach about to my children and should be finding joy and successes whenever and wherever I can.

My children actually argue with me – they use the “can’t” word. I hate that word. Whenever it comes up in a conversation I repeat it to them.

Child: “Mom, I can’t do it!”
Me: Can’t?
C: No, I can’t! I tried it already and I can’t!!
M: Can’t?
C: (By now, they’ve gotten used to this part – it used to go on at least two or three more “can’ts”) No, I tried and it didn’t work!
M: Try again.
C: But I can’t.
M: Can’t?

And then they go try again. I watch and give a suggestion if necessary but usually they’re so frustrated at me for being unwilling to accept they can’t do something that they do it.  Then I smile and walk away. Or laughingly throw in a “Told you. *wink wink*”

I’m hoping to extinguish the word “can’t” from their vocabulary but I’m not na├»ve enough to believe that my children can actually do whatever they try. There are some tasks that take time to master – and some they will never accomplish, but I refuse to let them believe they should give up without putting in the necessary effort. Or to believe they will fail before they even try.

In these instances, my job is harder; to encourage hard work and to point out successes and improvements. To do this, I have to be present, to pay attention, to be sincere. And the hardest for me, to sit back and watch them fail. To be okay with their failures and in so doing, to hopefully teach them to be okay with their failures too.

And maybe even to learn from them to be okay with mine.

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