Monday, December 6, 2010

Raising the (Monkey) Bar

In my book, the job of a parent is to inspire my children to a higher path by example. But, many times, I find myself being inspired by them instead. Yesterday was just such an occasion. We took our kids to the park to celebrate their birthdays (a weekend-long celebration since we have two birthdays all at once) and while I pushed my son in his swing, I looked over to see my daughter being lifted by the waist onto the monkey bars by a dashing young gentleman maybe two years her senior. My first thought was, "Hey boy! Touch my daughter again and I'll bury you where no one can find you." But, as I watched, I realized A. She had asked him for help B. There was not a hint of malice in his helpfulness C. She was making her way across the monkey bars. This last part astonishes me the most. The monkey bars have been a huge obstacle for her. Every day when I pick her up from school I get the play-by-play, "I didn't finish the monkey bars today," "I'm so FUSTRATED that I can't do the big monkey bars," "MOM! I did the monkey bars by myself today!" Kids talk (like, a lot) so I thought she was just making conversation. Apparently, this was a really big deal to her and she worked at it and employed the help and advice of others to meet her goal. In seeing that swatch of blonde amble its way through the air, I flashed back to my own childhood: one in which, if I didn't get something first try, I gave up (and I certainly didn't ask for help-- that left you vulnerable). And it hit me-- things we start to practice in childhood we usually carry over into adulthood, and I give up on things way too easy because of fear (Melissa USED to hang on the monkey bars stiff with fear and now she's conquered them) and because it isn't easy. So, I want to be more like my amazing daughter, who 6 years ago changed my life. It is her bravery that inspires me. :)

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