Be the Adult you Want your Children to Become
By Jude-Anne Phillip
Last night a lizard was in our bedroom. Not just a regular lizard, but the type that likes to hop and do the long jump. Now anyone who knows me would know that creatures of the hopping variety, frogs included, paralyze me. I am completely terrified of them, and there is no rational explanation for my fear, apart from I hate the way that they hop and how slimy they feel.
The best part of this traumatic ordeal was that my husband is currently away, so, considering that I was the only “adult” in the household, I was forced to be the brave one. And brave I was not. If you looked through our window at that moment, all you would have seen were three crying and screaming babies bunched up in the corner of the room (the screaming came from me).
After I got rid of the evil incarnate with an entire can of bug spray and emotions were stabilized, I started to replay the scenario in my head and I realized just how much our children are influenced by our own fears and emotions.
My boys were actually not afraid of the lizard until they saw that I was afraid. Had I not reacted the way that I did, instead of crying and panicking, they may have tried to pick up the lizard and turn the situation into one of discovery. And, by the time I had gathered myself enough to try to turn the situation around and convince them to stop crying and not be afraid, it was too late. My fear had already infiltrated their own perception of the situation and became their fear.
As a mother, I want my children to feel brave enough to pursue whatever it is their hearts desire. Fear of failure or what other people may think or do or say should never prevent them from doing something that they are passionate about or chasing whatever their dream is.
But children aren’t much for “do as I say not as I do”. It is unrealistic to expect our children to be brave go-getters when they watch us cower in fear at the thought of removing ourselves from our comfort zones to chase our own passions or unfulfilled dreams.
My elder son often asks me what I wanted to be when I was a child, and when I relay my list of occupations and dream jobs that I had as a child, his next question is usually “well why didn’t you do it?” And I never really have a solid answer to give him.
Why didn’t I do it? Why can’t I still do it? Much like my fear of hopping creatures, there is no rational reason. So maybe it is time for us to start being the adults that we want our children to become.
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