My youngest daughter Ember loves to be held, she wants me to carry her everywhere we go. Lately I have been working with her, teaching her that walking for herself is a good thing. I tell her “I will hold your hand and we will walk together.” She hates it, she gets upset every time I don’t pick her up and carry her. One time she wanted me to carry her from the car into the house and I told her no, but that I would walk with her. She grabbed my hand and said “But mom, if I walk I’ll fall.” She said it like it was a perfectly good reason to never walk. At first I thought that was she was being rediculus. Before I could respond I realized that she thought not trying was acceptable because I had been leading that example.
I hold back from the things the scare me. I sacrifice my desires because I’m afraid I will fail. I run away from games in fear that I’ll look silly. I avoid all things that I just might “fall down” while doing because I’m afraid I’ll end up on the floor.
I got down on my knees and I told Ember that it’s ok to fall, it’s ok if you get hurt while trying because I will be here right beside you, you wont walk or fall alone.
She stared to walk and a few steps later she fell, she was so frustrated and said, “See mom, I told you I would fall!” I reminded her that it was ok and encouraged her to try again. She got back up and walked the rest of the way to the house without a trip.
Later I thought about this beautiful moment with my daughter and how meaningful it was to me. I thought about how much she trusted me, and how inspired I was by her bravery to get back up and walk again.
My kids learn by watching me, so I have to be sure that my walk teaches them that it’s ok to fall. This meant I needed the grace that we as parents give to our children when we are actually teaching them to walk.
I thought about my girls and their first steps, when they would take two or three steps and then fall flat on their bottoms. Not once did I question if they were meant to walk. I never picked them up and said, “Oh no, you fell, you’re not good at this, lets stick to crawling and leave the walking to somebody else who is better at it than you!” Instead when they fell I cheered, “You did it! good job, you walked! I’m so proud of you!”
I didn’t see their falls or the amount of steps they took before they fell. I saw their efforts. I saw their beauty and I lived in the truth that they are enough. I cannot think of a time when I have failed or fallen and thought, “Good job Kami, you did it!” I have always focused on the fact that I was sitting on the ground with cuts or bruises on my pride. When I give grace, my daughters learn to give grace, but it’s only when I receive grace that my daughters will learn to receive grace. I have to change the message,“Stupid, stupid, Kami, why did you even try!” That I tell myself when I mess up. I have to start telling myself, “Good job Kami, you did it, you gave it all you’ve got!” I must stop clinging to my doubts and start walking, and when I fall, I must fall into the grace and love that I want my children to live in. Our mistakes are not a place for shame. They are a place for grace, love, learning and believing that we are one step closer to something amazing!
I know it hurts to fall, but I’d rather walk with bruises then stay in one place crippled by fear.
I am still learning that falling isn’t a bad thing and I take my steps trusting that when I stumble grace will be there to pick me up, brush me off and say, “good job! you did it, you are enough!”