I have been thinking a lot lately of how important it is for us as parents to be willing to go outside of our box and challenge ourselves; Not only for our own benefit, but also for the benefit of our children. There is so much that we ask of our children as they grow and learn, most of which is new and unchartered territory for them. I think that sometimes we may overlook the idea that when we ask our child to say hello to adults, make their own bed, or even invite a friend to play, that these are new experiences for them that can be a bit scary. Most of the time, our children simply move forward and do what is asked, not even stopping to acknowledge the fear they may have. Other times they may show some apprehension, but usually they work through it and new experiences are had and another skill is learned.
Our children are quite courageous creatures. Is there a way we can help to inspire them?
As our children are showing all of this courage throughout their daily lives, I have wondered about my own courage and how it can affect my son and his willingness to attempt new things. If I am willing to step outside myself and the proverbial “mom” box, will that serve as inspiration and provide him with more courage to take risks and try new things? If I am unwilling to try new things and am giving in to my own fears around risk am I teaching him to be overly cautious and afraid? It seemed that there is this beautiful teaching moment available for me and I have decided to challenge myself and stand witness to any effect it may have on my son.
I have found myself attempting new things, doing activities that I have talked about in the past but have not tried, and communicating my fears and apprehensions openly. As I have gone through this process I have watched my son’s curiosity rise. He asked questions for days after watching me do my first roller coaster loop and even wrote about it in his journal. As I communicate to him that I am feeling really scared about having to speak in public, I am greeted with the gift of listening to him tell me I can do it. He is eager to know how these experiences end up and proud when I am able to tell him that I faced my fear.
It seems that through this curiosity, he is now excited about the idea of facing his own fears.
I can’t help but acknowledge the direct connection that this has had on my son’s willingness to try new things and his excitement about it. There is an increased sense of confidence around his decision making process and a sense of fun around taking risks. I have watched him tube down a mountain alone, be willing to break a rule written on a public sign with me (don’t worry, a minor infraction), and take risks with reading out loud, just to name a few. It has been truly exciting for me to watch him and has inspired me to want to continue to challenge myself along the way.
It is so essential for us to be real with our children. Every single time we can show them that we feel the things they feel, think what they think, have fears, doubts, and questions, we are providing them with a gift. This gift allows them to connect with us on a deeper level that they are able to understand. It is through this deeper connection that our children will be able to learn from us and possibly absorb some of that wisdom we are hoping to give to them.
So find a way to get out of your box, challenge yourself, and show your children that you are more like them than they could ever imagine. It is an opportunity for self growth, connection, and fun!!