Do we trust our children?
A few weeks ago, we were invited for dinner at our friend’s home. We offered to bring dessert. My daughter Sara eagerly asked if she could make the dessert. I told Sara that she could make some cookies. She has mastered this recipe and I knew she could make them well. Sara insisted on making a cake with homemade icing. I hemmed and hawed and we both got distracted and the issue was tabled momentarily. A short while later I saw Sara sitting on the sofa looking a little sad. After some probing she said, “Mom, you don’t think I can make the cake. You are worried that it will turn out bad and then you will be embarrassed over the dessert we bring to our friend’s home.” Ouch! Her words were true – I didn’t trust that she could follow the cake recipe and yes, I was worried that having the cake come out poorly would negatively reflect on me or inconvenience my day by having to remake it or run to the store. I was really convicted by her sad face! What message had I given Sara without even realizing it? She walked away from this interaction thinking, “Mom doesn’t trust me and thinks I am incapable.” This is the exact opposite of what I want Sara to believe about herself.
As parents, we want our children to succeed. However, we sometimes tie our personal need for recognition to their performance. What would happen if we let our children be who they are without the pressure from their parents to perform? What would happen if we were less concerned with the outcome of a project and more concerned with the process?
The story of Sara’s cake making debut ended with a big success. I apologized for my immature response to her request to make a cake and told her to go for it! Sara worked really hard in the kitchen and when it was all said and done, the cake was amazing. She did it all by herself. Our friends enjoyed the cake and the look on Sara’s face as we all enjoyed her creation was priceless.
Acton Academy allows children the freedom to learn to be and learn to do. It is a beautiful learning environment where children are encouraged to ask hard questions and explore different viewpoints instead of memorizing facts to simply regurgitate for a test. As a parent, I am on a major learning journey to focus on the process not the outcome. “Failure is an event, not a person” as Zig Ziglar famously said.
I will close this blog post with a great quote!
“What if you decided to stop measuring yourself? What if you just accepted yourself in all your imperfect glory, knowing that you’ll keep growing, but you’ll also wake up irritable some mornings, and forget something important at least once a week, and say exactly the wrong thing on a fairly regular basis?
What if you decided that your kids are okay precisely as they are, without you needing to perfect their table manners, make sure their clothes match, or insist they clean their rooms? What if you allowed yourself to just love your kids, your life, and yourself completely – messy imperfection and all?