To set the stage: Raven lives a sheltered life. Let me define sheltered as I am sure many will picture a bubble being placed around her, which is not the case. Raven has never been physically hurt, we don't believe in spanking and she only went to public school shortly, thus she has never had the pleasure of being bullied by some little jackass. Knowing this, you must understand how shocking it was for her when she received her first bloody nose because of a Karate move.
What happened: First Raven gets a bloody nose, no big deal, we clean it up and she goes back in like a champ. Next comes the real pain. They are focusing on self-defense when facing a larger perpetrator. This involves a painful move that involves the wrist. Unfortunately, Raven is the new girl in the blue belts class, her wrists are not like water yet (no worries, we will be working on wrist flexibility). And as she was brought down, her wrist was hurt, her face went pallid, she got dizzy, sat down, and had to really try hard not to cry. Her Sensei was wonderful to her, talked to her, and told her to go out of the room and get a drink of water.
Here I stand, and I think: This is it, this is her moment, what is she going to do? Is she going to give up?
I have her sit down, give her some water, and let her breathe. I don't say anything, I simply kneel before her and breathe with her. I can see she is deep in thought. She is rubbing her wrist and processing a life decision. After another minute everyone in the class has a break and the Sensei comes out to talk to her. He shows her his wrists and how he can move them, and shows her that her wrists are very stiff, then he looks at me to have me show her my wrists...And I show her how flexible my wrists are,..and he nods, shows her some exercises and tells her about the first time he got punched in the stomach in class had the wind knocked out of him and though he was afraid, he continued on.
Then he looked her in the eye and asked, "Do you want to continue on?"
She smiled at him, nodded her head and said, "Yes."
Yes, one word that made all the difference. She walked back into that classroom, and continued on, she was frighted to continue, but she worked through it, and afterwords she said to me: "Well I didn't want to waste all my hard work."
So what is this post about: Well, as parents we walk a very fine line with our children. Their future, for the most part, is precariously placed in our hands. Will they grow up happy? Healthy? Able to handle the pitfalls of life? Will they have character? Will they love and be loved? Will they have self respect?
In the moment that Raven was sitting, breathing and thinking, I realized I could easily sway her if I didn't give her room to think, and thought she did. She thought about the pain, but she focused on all the fun and happiness she gets from the class. She thought about when she watched her Sensei's perform and how much she admired that they were teaching her how to protect herself while also warning that they must never use what they learn to hurt others. They were teaching her how to be a person that helps others up and doesn't knock them down: And that is the type of person she wants to be.
To put it in the simplest of terms: I allowed my child to be her own person and to have her own thoughts on the matter and she learned to face pain with her head held high. Sometimes we must allow our children to come to their own conclusions. (The trick though is ensuring they have the tools to make the "right" decision). You may not be there in their moment of "test"....So you must give them the tools. What tools had I given Raven before this life test. I have taught my child how to think, and not what to think. While we do home-school and we learn difficult lessons, I first explain to her why we are learning it and how this can translate into real world things. I also (Wish I had taught my oldest this) how to earn something, this makes gaining something worth more. (Many parent's feel guilty working so many hours so they often fall into the trap of buying their children's love, I did this with my oldest, lesson learned.)
In the end, we must understand that children are braver, smarter, and can be so much more than we think they can be. Sometimes, if we stand back, let them breathe, and let them think, they will come to the right decision....which in turn is the greatest reinforcement of life lessons.
As always have a beautiful day. Below is a short video created after she got hurt and went back in, you can see she is afraid...but she is working it out...and over the course of this week....she is going to be stuck doing flexibility training with her mom and practicing the "wrist" move on me. ;)