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Building others up to be bold, confident and courageous is a huge undertaking, but it has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. It’s who I am and it has served me well as an educator, mom, and friend.
Of course I will never forget the moment when my own girl child stopped me cold in my tracks with words that made me take a hard look at my parenting skills.
One day long ago she said, “You’re not like the other mothers!”
She hit me with that line when she was about 10 years old. I asked her what she meant and she just repeated it again. That kid hurt my feelings. And I couldn’t figure out what she meant or how she meant it, but I intended to find out.
She soon explained that I was not the least bit sympathetic about things. She said that when a challenging or hurtful situation came up I automatically told her to “dust herself off, pull herself up by her bootstraps and move on,” with no regard to her emotional state.
She told me that I never let her have the opportunity to be sad, or cry, or feel sorry for herself for very long. I just always expected her to stand strong and be bold and courageous.
Her perspective came from the other mothers she knew. She had watched many of them ‘molly coddle’ their sons and daughters and allow them to cry and carry on for as long as needed. Or as she put it years later, those parents let those kids ‘milk a situation for all it was worth.’
Fast forward her life to her early 20’s and she brought the subject up again. But this time she told me how much she appreciated my approach with her, and that because of our encouragement and positive modeling, her dad and I had taught her to be strong and bounce back in difficult situations. I had hoped we had lovingly prepared her to face adulthood with confidence.
I know that kind of encouragement and tough emotional stand doesn’t work with all kids, but it worked with her. Through our discussions with her we provided examples of how to work through the problem or issues she faced.
I know she won’t have all the answers to future life challenges, but my better half and I did our best to equip her with the necessary tools to work her way through anything. She learned to handle adversity, be a problem-solver and figure out how to deal with life’s little hiccups.
What we did for her is no different then what God does for us. He is tough on us when He needs to be. His word tells us to always do the right thing and He walks with us at all times. In other words, He never leaves us nor forsakes us. At least that is what I taught her during painful experiences when helping her to be strong and depend on her Heavenly Father.
Was I the perfect parent? Absolutely not. But I prayed a lot, partnered with her dad (my precious husband) to provide a stable and loving environment that nurtured her and encouraged her. And above all we taught her to work through the tough times and be courageous. Just like her Heavenly Father.
Today, she is a wife and soon-to-be mom, and I can only hope and pray that many of the lessons she experienced during her growing up years have prepared her to model a life of faith in action. It helps to know that she’s equipped to make a difference.
Please take a look at the ‘Enjoy the Journey’ section where I have shared tips for growing our girls into bold, confident and courageous young women of faith.
I’ll be praying for you and have a blessed week.
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