What do you do when your child gets her feelings hurt? I just want to fix it; to erase the damage. To take away the whispers of “you’re not good enough,” that swiftly turn into “I’m not good enough.”
For one of my kids nothing comes easy. Every accomplishment, every improvement is directly related to perseverance and hard work. Tonight she skated a race against a younger sibling and she lost.
I don’t think that losing the race alone would have hurt her. She’s no stranger to losing and usually she is happy to celebrate the both the winner and her own effort. Except this time the younger, faster sibling said, “When are you going to learn to skate fast? Why can’t you skate faster than me, since you are older?” And as my children are notorious for doing, he put those questions on repeat, repeat, repeat. He didn’t mean to hurt her; he didn’t realize his words weren’t kind. All her confidence in herself and her gain in skating came crashing down and I found her sobbing on a bench. “Why can’t I skate faster Mommy?” In truth her skating is more polished than her brothers, her movements smooth and correct- the speed will come. Her brother basically runs on his skates with no technique; he’s like chaos stomping around the rink. But that didn’t matter to her; all she saw where faults she previously didn’t know were there.
And then, when I coaxed her back to the floor she skated slowly around the rink not daring to even try to go faster- the fear of failure was too great.
~~ Y’all this Momma stuff is hard! I could happily go without ever seeing my child’s spirit crushed again. Shhh! Do not remind me of the teenage years just around the corner. Shhh!!!~~
Finally, I saw some of her usual determination surfacing. She thought no one was looking to notice if she failed so she balled up her little fists (that’s Bekah for “I’m going as fast as humanly possible”) and took off. When she passed me, unnoticed outside of the rink, I could see her triumphant smile. That’s my girl!
Will she forget it by our next visit to the rink and try the race again? Will she remember her failure and be determined to do better? Or will she hear those words in her head over and over allowing them to label her and break her spirit?