Tag Archives: Truth

Growing My Girls for the Will to Win

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I can’t imagine being 7 years old and having to make sense of peers being invited to something that she wasn’t. A “something’ that implies, “You’re smart,” or “There’s something special about you.”

She stuffed her feelings. Didn’t say anything about it. Just kept smiling as if everything was okay.

Then, a prime opportunity to reclaim self-esteem and feel smart again. The science bee. The history bee.

Representing her class among her peers with the winners from the four other classrooms. What a sense of accomplishment it would be if she won the grade-level bees? How super proud would her parents be of her?

It was a temptation far to relevant. And she lied. To feel smart. To feel special. To have her parents express their excited praise!

So, she said she won.

Did you see that? The trap. The belief that to restore this feeling of self-worth, a lie was necessary. I don’t blame her. How often do we do it too?

But when the truth is laid open, it humbles. And it restores.

She has strong interests in technology, science, social studies, media, and how things work (a.k.a., engineering). She has a teacher’s spirit and enjoys instructing others, making her a natural leader among her peers. She excels in language arts and tackles math like it’s a fun game. She loves people and cultures and exploring the differences among us.

Then, the 9 year old big sister weighs in. Tells her she is smart. She is special. She doesn’t need to lie to feel good about herself. And that just because you didn’t get something like your friends, you are still a great sister. One who loves. One who helps. One who teaches. All you have to do is think about all the good things, and winning isn’t everything.

I’d never ever seen this kind of maturity and wisdom in big sister before. It was beautiful. It was inspiring. It was tear-inducing. Sheer pride at her ability to communicate so clearly what she thought about her little sister lying. Just to feel smart and special.

No, winning isn’t everything. But the will to win is. Growing my girls with the will to win is a daily priority.  Most days it gets messy and complicated. But then there are those moments in life when their self-worth and esteem shine bright because they understand the will to go after what they’re good at.

Doing your best sometimes misses the mark or gets overlooked. Yet, refocusing on the will to win is what’s most important. I am thankful for these lessons learned and perspective changed with my girls this week.

When your kid steals gum from your purse

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She’s only 7 years old. She’s always been one to take and hide things. In a purse. Under the pillow. In the side of the couch. But today, she took it to another level.

After lunch, she asked for a piece of gum. Orange creme pop gum. Her favorite. I gave it to her.

Everything seemed fine until I started to smell faint mint. I called Jasmine over and it was apparent there was a large mass of something in her mouth. She’s a tiny thing. I asked her what was in her mouth.

She shrugged. Shot her eye contact to the window. And stood there, “Nuffing.”

I asked again, “Jasmine, what is in your mouth?”

She struggled to open up and muttered, “gum.”

That’s when I saw a mint green goo protruding from her mouth.

Oh Jasmine. Lying and stealing. I gave you a piece of gum already.

Her eyes welled up with tears because she knew she fouled up. I made her spit out the gum in the trash. She was not too pleased.

In my disappointment, I had to realize how much of a self-determined kid we are raising her to be. To get and do for yourself. To live vulnerably and own your story. To take risks and be brave. And that’s what she was doing.

I am a huge fan of Brene Brown’s research on shame, guilt, and vulnerability. She says this,

Owning our story can be hard but not nearly as difficult as spending our lives running from it. Embracing our vulnerabilities is risky but not nearly as dangerous as giving up on love and belonging and joy—the experiences that make us the most vulnerable. Only when we are brave enough to explore the darkness will we discover the infinite power of our light.”

After Jasmine fessed up, spit out the gum, and took a much needed nap, she is happily playing (i.e., annoying, pestering, making her presence known, etc) with her siblings and being her silly, sassy self.  She assures me that next time she’ll just ask for the gum. Good plan, sweetie, good plan.