I was laying on the couch in our bus, headphones on, listening to some great music feeling the warmth of the sun thinking about the day ahead. Out comes a blurry eyed Judah with the intention of enjoying his morning ritual of Nutragrain and milk. I watched with a smile on my face as my 6 year old begins the process of preparing his favorite breakfast. Bowl out, cereal in, then the milk from the fridge. We use milk powder, just one of those more convenient things in a bus, so our milk is in a large glass jug. Milk poured and it’s time to eat. Judah decided there wasn’t quite enough milk in his bowl so off for a top up. Milk comes out again, topped up cereal, then as he turns to put the milk away it slipped from his hand and we had a white river running down the isle of the bus.
I was so impressed watching my 6 year old son taking responsibility for his life in the form of preparing his own breakfast every morning and probably the fact I was also still half asleep that it took me a moment to register what had just happened. Once it had sunk in that we had a wee milk disaster on our hands I realised I had a choice at that moment. I had the opportunity to respond or react. The tears came as Judah also came to realise the extent of the problem. So I quickly got up and encouraged him and said hey let’s grab a towel and we’ll get this mess cleaned up, no worries! We got the mess cleaned up, Judah had a great breakfast and is now playing nicely with his sister with expectation of a great day ahead.
I sat back down and thought about the event and how things may have turned out if I had reacted instead. Judah! What on earth do you think you are doing! Now you have spilt milk ALL over the bus and I have to clean it up, YOU need to learn to be more responsible, and what on earth were you thinking trying to get the milk out yourself! Mmmm maybe this is what they mean by don’t cry over spilt milk?
So what if that was my response? I wonder how Judah would have felt tomorrow morning when he thought about getting up to prepare his breakfast. I wonder how that would contribute to they way he feels about trying new things and wanting to grow and build confidence and begin to feel like a big boy now.
I’m sure if I had reacted this morning he would have been fine, been upset for a while then eventually got on with the day. The thing is what if I react like that often, I wonder how long it would be before his confidence began to wain and he began to stop those small growth steps of making breakfast at 6 and taking responsibility for himself.
It made me think how often I can look at situations and see the worst, the one thing that went wrong rather than the several other things that went right.
Recently I had a go at launching a new website which I am very excited about. I am one of these people that think, you never know unless you have a go. I’m a bit of an ideas person. Within two days of putting my website live it had a really good response and is slowly getting momentum. Then it came the first comment from a “well meaning person” about yea it’s a good idea but… Even after I responded they felt the need to point out another reason it wasn’t so great. At this point again I find myself having to make a choice. I have always struggled finding confidence in the things I do and you will find a few unfinished projects behind me. Some for the right reason others because of allowing myself to be influenced by what others may have said that chipped away that little more at my confidence to try new things and take myself out of my comfort zone.
My decision was to once again respond politely to the comment made about the website and remain excited about the potential and I am sitting back watching the website grow. I could have been shaken by the comment but instead I decided that sometimes people will just continue to see the things that are wrong with something rather than the several things that are right.
See it took all of a minute to clean up the milk in the bus this morning and to have a son who walked away with his confidence and dignity intact and I am pretty sure he will be up bright and early again tomorrow morning ready to give it another go knowing that if things do go wrong, it’s ok. And most likely he will be that bit wiser tomorrow and get a better grip on the jug. A lesson learnt from what some would see as a failure.
I really believe we need to see the mistakes our children make as a great opportunity to see them grow into healthy confident kids, teens, adults and this starts with us encouraging the good and the not so good when attempting to be responsible for their lives. That they come to realise it’s ok to make a mistake as long as we use it as an opportunity to learn. So when they are adults they will have no problem trying new things without the fear of failure and what follows, but instead see those failures simply as a stepping stone to getting it right.
The same can be said for us as grown ups, don’t let that fear of failure, or what people may say, or the fear of embarrassment if it all goes belly up stop you from pursuing the things you deep down wish you could be doing. I don’t know what your childhood was like, but if you had one of those ones where you just couldn’t get it right, it’s time to start spilling the milk and feel ok about it Now go make some breakfast!