Keep calm? Seriously?
Have you seen what I have to deal with?
And "keeping it crazy" is the exact route I took when my daughter Lauryn came to me to discuss her fears regarding a recent situation at school.
Let me give you a little background history...
Lauryn is sweet, friendly and creative. She a beautiful girl who likes to dance, sing, draw, paint and write stories. She's tutus and glitter...she's never been a tough girl. She took longer to learn to ride a bike than most kids because she was afraid to fall. She's not into a lot of running...never played many sports. She's a sweet softy. Always meek and peaceable. Even shy in some respects.
Because of this, she seems to be a magnet for aggressive, bullish behavior.
I've been interceding on Lauryn's behalf since kindergarten. Every year, there has been some ill-mannered child or adult who has set their belligerent sights on my daughter (Yes, she has even been the target of hostile attacks from adults--a PE teacher even pushed her once! You should have heard what I had to say to him!).
Now, let me clue you in on a few things about me...
I'm not one of those parents who thinks her child can do no wrong. I'm probably the hardest on them. In fact, I know I'm the hardest on them. That said, I'm also fiercely protective and I will advocate for my children if they are being wronged. For that matter, I will stand up for anyone who is being abused or treated unfairly.
For years, I have been trying to coach Lauryn on being tougher, stronger, more confident.....Being brave...Believing in herself!
After school on Tuesday, Lauryn told me that seating changes had been made, resulting in her being placed at a table with 3 boys, one of whom is allegedly racist. So I began asking questions.
Racist? How do you know? What does he say? Has anyone informed the teacher? What has he said to you? What about the other little boys? What are they doing to you?
She couldn't answer any of those questions with any facts. She has heard the little boy make unkind remarks about other races; however, he has never said anything to or about her. And as far as the other little boys, well, she just didn't want to sit at a table with all boys.
So I got a little NOT calm.
And I began saying things like, Why are you getting all worked up to the point of tears over something that has not happened? Why are you allowing someone's unkind remarks towards a separate group of people intimidate you? Why are you the one feeling uncomfortable? If this boy has a thing against minorities, then sit right at that table a let him be the one who feels uncomfortable! I need you to be strong! I need you to be confident! No, don't do it for me, do it for yourself! Believe in yourself! You are a beautiful, intelligent, wonderful girl! Find strength in that! Walk into yourself, Lauryn! I need to know that you are going to be able to take care of yourself in this world! I don't care how nervous you are on the inside, you be strong on the outside! You have to practice being confident! You have to pretend you believe in yourself until you really do!
And, I kind of went on and on and on...And yes, I was talking in this excited, flared up, overly passionate tone.
I couldn't help it...I just couldn't remain calm. I just wanted to shake some sense into her. No, not sense...Courage! BELIEF!
I mean, doesn't she understand that she is MY daughter and that she better not EVER let anyone cause her to feel inferior or minimized? Doesn't she know how fabulous she is? Doesn't she see it? Doesn't she know?
I tucked her bed...told her how much I loved her...and explained that I wasn't yelling at her, I was just a little hyped up only because my love for her makes me CrAzY.
I asked my husband later if I had gotten too worked up. Surprisingly, he said no. He's usually the one telling me how nutty I get over things. But still, I felt I handled it incorrectly. Lauryn isn't me. She's not even the me I was when I was almost 12. At age 11 and 12, I had already gone through things in life that toughened me. I had already learned to be a fighter.
So, I decided on a tender approach.
And this is what I did...
I often wonder why I--the Inspiration Specialist, the one who leaps at every opportunity to encourage a woman or young girl, the one who always seems to know exactly what to say and how to say it--why do I always seem to fall a little short when it comes to inspiring her?
She loved the journal...she loved my words...and she loves the idea of writing from the heart until she believes in the strength that lies within.
And of course, sometimes I sing her this song...minus the Lena Horne facial expressions! Haha!
How do you remain calm when it comes to allowing your kids the space to practice and apply these teachings on their own? Share in the comments below! Others will benefit...I know I'm not the only crazy one!