Last week my children were on Spring Break and I, for the most part, took the week off to spend time with them and enjoy some down-time in my hometown of Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina – which is right outside of Charleston.
When I go home, it’s usually for a specific occasion or just for some down time at my parents’ house. My Daddy loves to cook and, to be honest, there’s no restaurant in town that I’d rather eat at than Daddy’s Down Home Cooking Cafe’. My best friend lives in town and is my 2nd favorite cook – specializing in delectable sweets that I can never resist, so when we get together it’s usually at her house for some girl time, wine and good eats. Suffice it to say, I do not spend much time actually enjoying the sites and eateries of the Charleston-area.
My goal last week was to do just that. My children quickly took to the Memorial Waterfront Pier at the foot of the Arthur Ravenel, Jr Bridge.
We had a great time walking the pier, watching the ocean (we saw 59 jellyfish according to my 8-year-old!), and meeting new friends on the playground.
However, there was one significant exchange that really stood out for me.
Lessons On Courage From The Playground
My daughter, being the youngest, is constantly letting us know that she is a big girl and believes she can do anything and everything her big brother does – better.
However, when she was faced with the sliding pole I could see the apprehension written all over her face. I looked on as she stood back and watched the other children confidently run up to it and slide down. She tentatively stepped towards it, looked at me, looked down at the ground below and then quickly stepped back. I started to get up and assist until I saw her brother walking over to her side.
“Wanna slide down?”
He could tell she was afraid, but didn’t call her out. He stood patiently and showed her how to lean over, grab the pole and wrap her legs around it before sliding down. In less than five minutes, he had boosted her confidence and they slid down side-by-side. Her smile when she plopped down was priceless.
“Momma! I did it!”
For the next 20 minutes, I watched her get more and more confident as she tackled the pole slide first with her brother each time and then solo.
It’s awesome to see the two of them work together and support one another.
There are times we will have to trust others with our fears, allow them to guide and teach us
and then take lead once we’ve learned and leaned on them for a bit.
Instilling courage in our children is something that we can do in our daily actions and, of course, by showing and talking to them about ways we face our fears – like the time I had to share with my children my fear of the dentist.
Like I had to do, stop yourself from automatically going to their rescue. The impact of my son showing her versus me coaching and coaxing her made a huge difference. It was a memory that we’ll all have and cherish in our own special ways.
I, also, believe that courage means recognizing and accepting that there will be some things we fail at – and that’s okay. The courage is trying anyways, learning and then trying again.