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.
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.