The below is a re-post from 3 1/2 years ago.
Recently, the Child has started using this same shattered phone (wi-fi only) to text and facetime friends.
Last week, as a surprise, I had the phone’s glass repaired.
Her gratitude was palpable. She couldn’t believe I’d have it fixed for her.
It reminded me how much she’s changed and how she’s not changed at all.
Ive gotten better at NOT glorifying the busy.
I force myself to acknowledge–-in the nicest of fashions—declining invitations or opportunities is not the result of a jam-packed schedule.
I say no because it isn’t a priority right now.
It’s been hard, but it’s grown easier each time I do it.
As a result, life has slowed around here (*cue lackadaisical confetti*) yet, because slow isn’t necessarily *simple*, parenting challenges abound.
Ones in particular which remind me of a book I read years ago and long before I was a mother.
I’ve appropriated the title as a reminder of sorts.
A loving nudge to myself when I’m tempted to focus on the child’s ROOTS and not encourage her to spread her wings.
The book’s very title, Blessings of a Skinned Knee, is a reminder how letting our children fall & fail is the most powerful way to facilitate their growth.
I parallel this growing process to learning to bowl.
When children are little we offer them small bowling balls and place bumpers over the gutters.
We lessen their load so they don’t grow quickly depleted.
We fashion safeguards around them so they can experience life yet not get hurt.
As children mature we pass them heavier balls, but leave the bumpers in place.
We strengthen their self-esteem in this safe fashion until, when they’re ready, we remove the bumpers and let them fly on their own.
Invariably they fall or fail.
The oxymoronic title Blessings of a Skinned Knee reminds us there are gifts hidden in these
failings gutter balls.
Blessings I grasped only on an intellectual level until recently.
“May we go for a walk *alone*, Mama?”
The child asked if she could take Charming for a walk.
She’s 7. We just moved to Oakland, California. She’s not known for her ability to pay attention to her surroundings.
I longed to say HELL NO.
I told her HECK YES.
Yes she could walk him solo if she took a specific route and brought her Dad’s phone with her just in case.
Five minutes after she left my phone rang.
When I answered it and she calmly asked if she could talk to her dad.
After they spoke he relayed what she’d told him:
She’d dropped his phone when Charming unexpectedly pulled and it had shattered. She was very, very sorry.
He and I were shocked.
She’d left home a child who cried, blamed and made excuses if something “bad” happened.
But, when given freedom and faced with a dilemma, she’d stepped up, owned up and not shed a woe is me tear.
It was the blessing of a shattered iPhone.
It’s not overstatement to say when she returned she carried herself with more confidence.
Her lean-forward, uber-confident stance returned.
I immediately told her how proud I was with how she’d handled the incident.
“I was nervous,” she said. “I was afraid you’d be angry, but I knew I had to tell you right away and so I did. That’s why I called.”
Experts say children gain authentic confidence when they learn to cope with failures or problems.
All I know is the experience gave her a confidence boost I never could.
She was proud how she’d made good choices in a bad situation (who doesn’t have the initial inclination to lie/hide the evidence?).
As a parent Id felt the fear and removed the “life-bumpers” anyway.
She’d slid straight into the gutter and surprised us all by finding her own way out.
We debriefed (she brainstormed what she might have done differently).
I normalized (yep. Ive shattered my phone, too).
I shared tools (decisions I make so accidents like that happen less frequently).
More than anything I was grateful.
Grateful I let her try to fly.
Grateful her failing was small.
Grateful what I’d known intellectually had been proven true:
Children gain confidence by having opportunities to fail and find a solution.
There are blessings in these failures.
And gifts in shattered iPhones.
Allie saysJune 22, 2016 at 5:10 am
This is so perfectly timed for me. The boys are 7 and I’m struggling with giving them the independence they need and crave with my mama fears of NO you’re too (little, young, inexperienced, etc.) it’s a tough time, as you know, but I’m trying… 🙂
LOVE the picture of forward stance with lollipop and tattoos. LOVE.
Susie @ SuzLyfe saysJune 22, 2016 at 5:19 am
I wish there were bumper guards for adults sometimes. Not all the time, but so that we can remember to have a little fun, rather than always focusing on perfection and or failure.
Liz saysJune 22, 2016 at 5:37 am
I really like the bowling visual of living as a child with bumpers over the gutters.
I hope I have the confidence to remove those bumpers when it’s time.
Coco saysJune 22, 2016 at 5:55 am
I’ve only shattered my phone once — knock on wood — and of course I was out of town. Luckily from experience with my kids’ phones I knew where to get it fixed.
Nettie saysJune 22, 2016 at 6:21 am
Now that mine are older, they are 15 and 18, I’m able to look back and see what a gift it was each time they failed.
It wasn’t as popular to talk about that idea back then, but you’ve hit it perfectly here.
Megan @ Skinny Fitalicious saysJune 22, 2016 at 6:42 am
I feel like I need bumper guards in my life. I have so much going on that I just want to live sometimes but there’s always that part of me that wants to do more pushing me.
Michelle saysJune 22, 2016 at 7:13 am
Gorgeous as always. xoxoxo
Nellie saysJune 22, 2016 at 7:32 am
The bumper guards are insane in my household–all due to me. But my eldest is good about making me see that he CAN do somethings all on his own, he’s a wise kid that one.
lindsay Cotter saysJune 22, 2016 at 7:46 am
this is something I think a lot of kids miss out on now. Learning to cope with failure. My niece is having the hardest time now because of it. But we’re all trying to help her yet not help her, if that makes sense? failure is not a bad a thing if it makes you stronger in the long run.
Brianne saysJune 22, 2016 at 8:11 am
I love this post as summer time is coming there so many “new” things happening this year. I just wish I get the bumpers sometimes!
Cathy Chester saysJune 22, 2016 at 8:44 am
You are such a good mom, carefully weighing out what is right for your child. Yay, Carla and what a lovely post.
Paula Kiger saysJune 22, 2016 at 9:06 am
Lovely (and the image of lackadaisical (sp?) confetti makes me giggle).
Diane saysJune 22, 2016 at 9:24 am
Even though my kids are all married with kids of their own, I still have to quell the urge to make life’s walk easier for them. They have made good decisions and bad ones. I’ve been there to talk. Not re-arrange. It’s tough.
Laurie Oien saysJune 22, 2016 at 9:25 am
Carla, this is a very important message and a wonderful lesson in raising our kids. When my kids got their driver’s license I wanted to put “bumpers” all around the car! Lol However, I know that I have to trust and pray that all will be well and that they’ll find their way out of any circumstance. Maybe even without a GPS. haha
Glenda saysJune 22, 2016 at 9:47 am
Bravo, Carla! I love this story…an important tale of growth and maturity. Reminds me of my youngest son who played his first season of Pop Warner football with a stream of misfortunes. Many parents took their kids and left the team, but we chose to stick it out. There would be a lesson to learn from this situation. He learned to persevere.
Melissa @ The Staten Island family saysJune 22, 2016 at 10:08 am
Thank you for sharing this today it is exactly what I needed. giving my kids independence they need is harder on me than on them- also I just LOVE this so much “No isn’t a four letter word. Living with margins is OK.”
Pam saysJune 22, 2016 at 1:03 pm
You’re doing great Carla–THEN and now, as evidenced by her phone call. She is one brave little girl, but who would expect anything less with her BRAZEN roots??!!
Yum Yucky saysJune 22, 2016 at 1:29 pm
I love the story. Failure is so very necessary to become more-better, empowered and confident.
Jody - Fit at 58 saysJune 22, 2016 at 2:08 pm
Very important message!
TriGirl saysJune 22, 2016 at 3:04 pm
This is something that still holds at 41 years and 9 days old. I still need to try things on my own that I don’t want to do/am afraid to do: ride my bike, move to a new city, DRIVE in a new city. If I had never been given the chance to fail as a child, I would never have the confidence to try (with the very real possibility of failing) as an adult. And I find just as much renewed confidence when I succeed as an adult.
messymimi saysJune 22, 2016 at 3:11 pm
Failing forward. What can we learn so it’s not just a fail, but a lesson?
cheryl saysJune 22, 2016 at 5:11 pm
Tough love is the only love that works….I kicked my daughter out of the house (she lived w/friends and then her dad for a few years)- I told her if we were going to have a good relationship later, that she needed to leave now. Hardest and best thing I ever did!