We have one little girl learning how to ride a bike despite massive balance and coordination challenges. We have another little girl learning how to walk. I think the timing for both is God’s providence in our life as a family.
They get to see each other falling and getting back up! It’s beautiful! They cheer each other on and there is no shame for the one taking her first fumbled steps, nor is there any shame for the one struggling to keep the bike upright. I LOVE IT. One of the most important things I get to do as a mommy is to teach my children that there is no shame in and no reason to fear, falling down.
|Ride, Baby Ride!|
People often ask why I am so willing to publicly talk about my shortcomings, character flaws and outright failures. THIS IS WHY. We live our lives in front of our children, publicly and privately, in a way that says, “Falling down isn’t shameful, it doesn’t define who we are, it simply provides an opportunity to rise again. Wiser, more experienced, more prepared, better, stronger.”
Sometimes that means that we screw up the whole parenting thing. Ruptured relationships are platforms for repaired relationships. Sometimes it means I am dishonest —I once had to sing a song in Shona to get away with not having a radio license (I didn’t have any cash in that instance, but there were other times that I did and still didn’t pay.) And have to apologize to my kiddos for not telling the truth. (BUT COME ON PEOPLE, I WOULD LIKE CREDIT FOR THE FACT THAT 2016 is the year of the Chari family radio license.) Sometimes it means that things we try to accomplish at work, at home, in relationships just fail—and we have to show them that we can get back up again! Living in a cross-cultural, inter-racial marriage with all the other differences we certainly allows for a lot of getting it wrong! One of the things that our girls know for sure is that the Chari’s are risers. We have not stated this verbally, but we have shown them time and time again.
Nyash and I have learned that the most powerful moments we have with our children are the imperfect ones. We try really hard to implement strategies at home that are going to help them grow into strong, brave, kind women. However, we are aware that who we are is a more accurate predictor of our children’s success than what we know about parenting. This is really what attachment rich parenting is about: how we relate, how we engage when we are hurt or struggle or are different. How resilient we are—this is what our children glean from us, just by being ours. We cannot give our kids what we do not have. We cannot teach them to be unafraid of failure if we never fail and recover or if we are afraid someone might know that we fail!
|Walk, Baby Walk!|
If we do not think that we are precious regardless of what is undone, messed up, vulnerable or scary – our kids are going to second guess their preciousness as well. When I know I am precious, I am free to say “this is who I am. “ Are we placing conditions on preciousness? Prerequisites like success? There is no room for shame in our home. I might be a girl who did some bad things and those things brought about feelings of guilt, because I was guilty—the definition of guilty is simply someone who has done something they shouldn’t. Shame is something else entirely… shame says there is something wrong with ME. Shame takes away my preciousness. When we engage with our families we must understand that when we mess up and when they mess up, it doesn’t change who we are—we are still precious people, we have just done something wrong.
Our kids are willing to fall in front of each other because they have learned how to get back up! Our kids are willing to get it wrong because we are willing to live with failures out in the open. Brene Brown says, “With skinned knees and bruised hearts we choose to own our stories of struggle over hiding, hustling and pretending.”
Our courage comes from facing our failures or shortcoming head on. The failures we face with honesty are the ones that are unable to define us.
|Beautiful sisters: Hand Holders, Lifter-upers, Cheerleaders. Fallers. Risers.|
So here’s to our girls, the one learning to walk and the one learning to ride. May your heart never fear the fall, may you always find courage to get back up and may you learn at a younger age than your daddy and I did that it’s in the falling and rising that you are made strong. We love you girls so very much, you are our crowning glory and it is for you that we do not hide. We are more fearful of you not loving who you are than we are of what others might think of our weaknesses. Be brave. Be kind. Be you.