My daughter, Anna, got a pair of navy-blue glasses with silver polka dots.
She was so proud of these glasses, she wore them everyday!
For months I saw her face with these wild frames -- and all of a sudden they were gone.
One night at dinner, I asked her what was going on. She said someone made fun of her and she didn't want to wear them anymore.
All at once these thoughts ran through my head:
“Good, you need to protect yourself from these comments, so don't do anything out of the ordinary that could trigger these responses.”
“How can one comment completely change her?”
“What happens when they start making fun of other parts about herself that she can’t change so easily?”
“Is avoiding these situations more important than learning how to deal with them?”
“Teaching her to fit in is dangerous and can lead to much bigger problems.”
I took a deep breath and weighed my options.
Avoiding struggle also means avoiding growth, and I knew her not wearing these glasses was safer in the short-term, but dangerous in the long-term.
So I asked her, “Do you still like to wear them or are you onto a new style?”
She said she still liked them.
So I asked her, “What happens when someone makes fun of your dress? Or your favorite pair of shoes? Or your hair? Or your body? How much are you willing to change about yourself to be accepted? The glasses are an easy fix, but it is a slippery slope. The world will always ask more of you and want you to be different, and nothing will ever be enough. There will probably always be people who won’t like you, and that’s OK. It is more important to be who you are and not liked than to be somebody you’re not and be liked.”
Anna listened, quietly.
She didn’t respond.
She took it all in, and I could see her wheels turning.
Every so often, Anna will wear those glasses.
It appeared she found whatever confidence she needed to do so.
One thing I keep learning as a parent is that cultivating resilience in my kids is an ongoing conversation.
It takes me being willing to face my discomfort for their discomfort, and then walking us both through the yuckiness in order to get to the truth of our values and the heart of what we believe to be right for us as individuals and as a family.
It’s not always easy.
It’s not always known.
This is why we share our stories.
So hopefully we can learn from one another.
This is what it means to be a Warrior for Change.
Tell us how you’re building resilience IN THE COMMENTS BELOW. Let’s learn together.
Parent + Warrior for Change