We are constantly trying to teach our children to build resilience and confidence. A big part of that journey is giving them the assurance that they are enough, just as they are. Guiding them on how to believe in themselves, truly and deeply enough to be confident with who they are as a person, despite what the ‘world’ tells them they should be. (We know, people forget to warn you about these responsibilities when you first have the children…. another parenting surprise).
Anyway, it is hard being a kid, trying to make friends, impress friends, keep up with the trends of friends (kids and their “friends” hey?!). Motivated by the sheer fear of being singled out for being different, having a different opinion, wearing different clothes, having different talents, interests, dreams… our kids are constantly battling with who they are and developing the confidence to be comfortable and accepting of this. (sound familiar?).
We replay scenarios with our children, discussing what happen on the playground, Who did what? Who said what? How did they react? What did you do? How did that make you feel? etc.
Seems that the conversation frequently steers back to the same advice. We say frequently, because let’s be honest, we’ve all wanted to turn up the next day and take matters into our own hands, despite trying to teach our kids “the right way”. (“I’m taking the day off work… you need to point out who said that and I’ll sort it out”…..is what I should have said!).
But, it generally plays out something along the lines of…“Don’t worry about what others think, true friends will accept you for who you are, don’t pretend to be anybody you are not, everyone is unique in different ways, if we were all the same life would be boring, it’s ok to be different, be true to yourself….. You just do you!!”.
It got us wondering though… let’s replay the scenarios, in our adult world. We allow people into our lives, family and friends, all who have an opinion about what we do, how we do it, when we do it, how it could be done different… etc. (you know what I’m talking about, those ones where you want to say shut-up! But instead, you listen, politely, nod, smile, then agree….)
Then, rather that take our own advice, which should be to ignore and carry on with your business, your way (however, on the odd occasion, somebody may surprise you with some ‘good advice’ so feel free to accept these gems). The core of what we are constantly telling our children to help them build resilience and confidence seems to be immediately forgotten. No matter how many times we have these conversations with our children, as much as we deeply believe our advice to be true, we still seem to have an issue taking our own advice and applying it ourselves.
Imagine, just for one moment, if we held up the mirror, and shared the same advice we do with our children. I wonder what impact that would have on our own esteem, confidence, resilience and happiness. (maybe just don’t take it too far and actually start telling everyone to shut-up… that may not end entirely well – remember, it’s all about balance).
Take two… ”Don’t worry about what others think, true friends will accept you for who you are, don’t pretend to be anybody you are not, everyone is unique in different ways, if we were all the same life would be boring, it’s ok to be different, be true to yourself…. YOU JUST DO YOU!”
Even in the hardest and longest days, even when routines have to change, the ups and the downs of life, the challenges of balancing so many roles, parent, partner, sibling, colleague team mate etc.. At the end of the day, the old saying still holds relevance…’Monkey see, monkey do…’
Our children are watching …so…we challenge you… to just do you!!