The Self.

I found this, written by an old friend, Bowd Beal.

“I heard a story a long time ago that really resonated with me. I tried to remember it as best I could, but the point of the story was to help someone understand that a struggle can produce strength and resiliency. Now, there’s an entirely different conversation to be had if the individual struggling doesn’t embrace the struggle, but that’s for another time. This particular post is so that I can propose a challenge for all the parents out there, and the challenge is this:

Let your child struggle. Let them fail. Let them feel the full measure of their failures, their shortcomings, their inadequacies, and their disappointments. Let them experience the feeling of letting someone down. Let them know what it feels like to disappoint someone who counted on them. Then, let them learn. Guide them through the process. Let them know that it’s not ok, but that they can, and will be better if they choose to be. I know that this is much, much easier said than done, and I know it’s even easier for the guy with no kids to be the one to say it. I can’t fathom what it is like to have a child in this world that we live in. Judgement and scrutiny are everywhere we look. It’s at its most concentrated & poisonous levels on the things we look at most – the thing you’re looking at right now in your hand. There aren’t many things that I have figured out, but I can tell you with certainty that if I do anything well, it’s because I did it poorly first. I’ve messed up a lot. Things that I’m so embarrassed of, they make me cringe when their memory creeps in to my head. However, from those shortfalls I learned to pick myself up, frequently with tremendous support from people who chose to believe in me (we can discuss later how foolish they were/are for doing so). I can only hope that if God blesses me with children, I can find the strength (and courage) to let them struggle, and that I can somehow lead them to grow from those struggles. Anyway, if you were curious (and not sick of reading) here’s the story:”

This was written by an old friend of mine, Bowd. I spent my early years tumbling at his Mother’s gym “acrobrats.” I’d beg him to teach me impossible things in the community pool like how to do an uneven bars pull-over – to which he’d respond, “April, it’s impossible in the water!” And I’d joyfully respond, “just show me!”

He is now an acclaimed Coach with immense success in communities nation wide.

When I read his invitation my heart swelled. I believe in this with a fierce conviction.

When I had my son I didn’t really know what the hell I was doing outside of good ole’ instinct. The only thing I did know was that it was ok for him to fail just as much is it was going to be ok for him to succeed. And if my motherhood is built on anything it is that foundation- it is ok to fail. When I don’t know what to do, I know that. Not only do I know it for my son, I know it for myself. I celebrate my failures equally with my successes and use them toward a deeper experience and understanding of who I really am. I think my family taught me this, cumulatively. My mother, my father, grandparents.. I can’t remember anything direct, it was more a way of living that taught me. I can identify one way of living that was covertly impactful- my goodness was never centered around my success. It was never linked to my grades, my success in school, my advocacy, ideas, abilities. I can’t remember my family ever boasting anything in these areas. Once I remember winning a pretty big poetry contest, and I remember my grandmother asking me how I felt about it, listening and sharing how she felt. I remember my mother listening to my excitement intently, I remember my great grandfather asking what I wanted to do next. No one ever said or implied, “Our daughter/granddaughter is so smart and creative! She won a poetry contest! We are so proud!” These responses taught me I was valued more than my successes or failures.

My son had a terrible 3rd grade year. Between academics, friends, a clash with the teacher, and a new school it was undeniably crappy. While I had to do the dance of supporting him, listening to him, being his biggest cheerleader and his safest space, I also had to let him fail- in some cases miserably.

At one point I walked into his room and on his desk was a little piece of paper he had written on very delicately. It said “Was today a bad day? That’s ok! Tomorrow can be good!”

Is this about failure or success? I can’t say absolutely what it is about, but for me it is about thriving and loving one’s self despite set backs, bad days, or failures. It’s about enjoying great days but not using them as a definition for one’s SELF. For me it was about knowing Peace. Looking at a bigger picture and knowing our true value, the Self.

One thought on “The Self.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s