The other day I was attending church, and a woman gave a talk about the small things of life that can make such a significant difference to us and others. She shared little ditties that we are all familiar with and believe in, such as: be still my soul, take time to smell the roses, slow down and enjoy life, be still and listen and learn.
I wondered how many times my parents said similar things to me and my sisters as they tried to advise us and help us put our life in perspective. I believe we are often so busy with everything going on that we put pressure on ourselves to be something that we aren’t prepared to be or to obligate ourselves to do things we don’t have time or energy to accomplish. Our children watch us and adopt many of our traits and behaviors, the good ones as well as the not so good. Is it any wonder that they don’t want to pay attention to our advice that we developed after many years of trial and error?
After all, did we listen to our parents? I don’t know about you, but I must admit that I listened, but I didn’t do anything about following their advice (at least not like I should have).
As I listened to this woman speak, I started reminiscing about an experience that my wife and I recently had involving our six-year-old great granddaughter, Rebecca.
Rebecca is a cute little girl with long blonde hair, a dynamic personality, and a strong sense that she knows what she wants out of life. Not too long ago, we went to her church at the invitation of her parents to watch her participate in a special program put on by her church once a year, involving children from 3-12 years old. There were about 50 or more children participating.
Each child had a short talk (10-20 seconds) and several children’s songs that they sing. The program was about 45 minutes, and it is always enjoyable to watch and listen to the children.
On this Sunday I would say that there were at least 200 people sitting in the congregation to hear this special program. Many of them were grandparents like Anne and me. For some reason Rebecca decided that she wasn’t going to sing. I asked her mom if she knew the songs and was told she knew every word to every song but just decided she wasn’t going to sing and during the entire program she didn’t sing a single note.
She stood and walked to the pulpit to give her talk and when she was done, she walked confidently back to her seat and reentered her closed mouth singing mode. I watched with fascination at her resolve and determination.
Sometime during the program her dad tried to be reassuring by making a little heart with his hands and showing her his message of love and support. Rebecca saw her dad’s gesture and promptly stuck her tongue out at him. Her dad and mom, grandma and grandpa, and several aunts and uncles saw this response and did the things that our family does best, we started laughing.
As I mentioned earlier, Rebecca is 6 years old and this moment is but a small segment of her lifetime of adventures, but it will be a moment that we will always remember and cherish. It will become part of our family lore.
Now you may wonder why I started thinking about this event during the previously mentioned woman’s talk and to tell you the truth so did I. After thinking about this for a minute the reason I chose this little event is because my heart leapt out of my body towards this little girl. She was in a children’s choir, and she did her own thing, expressing herself in a way that she felt would get her message across to her parents and others. The fact is, I don’t know what message she was trying to share but that didn’t matter to me because she was letting us know that she was an individual and she had the confidence to do her own thing and not worry about what others thought. I was proud of my family that day because rather than being embarrassed or upset we still showed love and appreciation for our young singer. My love grew that day from experiencing that little family moment.
Let’s learn to cherish each moment in the lives of our children because these moments create their future. So, as we have heard a million or more times, let’s slow down and smell the roses and teach our children to do the same.
Happy Failing Forward,
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