I am lucky enough to be raising two very independent children. At the young ages they are both of them know what they want and won’t back down until they get it. Sometimes it’s frustrating for me, but just recently it taught me a very important lesson.
Yesterday morning my son, Ari, woke up a little cranky before it was time to go to preschool. He had an empty paper towel roll but somehow it had been “smushed” during the night by our giant dog. He was crabbing and I was trying to get everyone out the door on time. Before we left Ari insisted I give him some string so that he could make a necklace out of his paper towel roll. Since the morning was already a little rocky I went with it. I knew if I didn’t it would take us even longer to get out the door. So I helped him quickly make a necklace that was about the width of his entire body. It literally took me 30 seconds and in an instant his entire mood changed. Ari was so proud of what he had made.
We brought the necklace in the car, but I was secretly hoping he would forget about it by the time we got to preschool. Silly me to think he would forget about such a creation. As we were getting out of the car I kept asking him “Are you sure you want to bring that in?”. Confidently he said “Yes”. Ari is one of the youngest children in his entire preschool program so I was a little nervous for the outcome. In the back of my mind I kept worrying what others would think… Are the kids going to make fun of him? He was wearing a paper towel roll around his neck! What will his teachers think of this necklace? Will he get his feelings hurt?
Little man was not taking no for an answer, though. He strolled into preschool confident as ever wearing his paper towel necklace. A few other boys greeted him and started talking about their plans for a playdate that night while I put his things away. As Ari was sitting down to eat breakfast a few little boys started asking him about his “tube” and where he got it. They wanted one like him. As I was watching them talk I couldn’t help but notice the pride and confidence my son was exuding. Ari was smiling from ear to ear telling his friends about his necklace that he made.
We live in a time where image is everything. Every single life event is photographed and uploaded. Social media feeds are plastered with images of how people should look. As parents, its all to easy to get wrapped up in that when it comes to raising our little ones. I find myself all too guilty of trying to create the perfect image. My children are always dressed to perfection and forget about letting them leave the house in something that isn’t photo worthy. Today, though, made me realize that isn’t what’s important. All this pressure we put on ourselves is silly. Sometimes I need to stop and remember that these little babes I am raising are both unique humans with their own BIG ideas. Who am I to prevent them from just being themselves?
Instead of helping them look the best they can… I need to help them BE the best they can.
Even if it means allowing them to dress silly and wear paper towel necklaces to preschool.