Sure Of Me

pooh4

Notice in the sketch the gentle way Piglet takes Pooh’s arm.

The loving way he looks up at him.

For guidance.

Reassurance.

Acceptance.

My daughter is nine and a half years old and like many girls her age she swoons over One Direction and idolizes Taylor Swift. But what if she didn’t? What if she didn’t find the boys in One Direction attractive or she didn’t care for Taylor Swift’s style?

At what age do our children begin to doubt their self-worth? I worry that this is happening earlier and earlier and this scares me to death! And at what age do our children begin to form and become aware of their sexual identity? I have no idea, but I have to think that my daughter is nearing that age.

I don’t want my daughter to ever doubt the fact that her mother and I would think any more or less of her based on her weight, her style or her sexual preference. So do we wait to have this conversation when the time is right? Or do we have it now?

We have it now.

We have it now because what if she begins to doubt her self-worth before we have the conversation? Then what? Damage has been done that can’t ever be repaired. Worse yet, what if she were to ever think that our love for her wasn’t unconditional? It saddens me deeply to think that this happens everyday to children and oftentimes we are not even aware of it.

This is not a piece about sexuality, fashion or fitness. It is a piece about our children. Our students. How many of them go through each day questioning their self-worth? The answer to that is too many!

So what can we do about it?

We can let our students know that we love them unconditionally. No matter what! We continue to guide them and nurture them and we let them know this…

rilke

And it is most beautiful because they are in it. They make it wonderful. Our children’s happiness is our most valuable natural resource and it is slowly slipping away.

As parents and educators we always try to make sure that we are there for children when we are needed. And I am certain that we will continue to do that. But the sketch of Piglet and Pooh found at the top of this piece was not taken from chapter 1. Meaning Piglet did not always have this bond with Pooh. I’m sure it was cultivated. Bit by bit. Moment by moment. Trust by trust. Until it just. Was.

We can do the same.

I am beginning to think that we need to make more of an effort be there before we are needed. I know I do. In my role as an administrator I worry that there are times when I am expecting/hoping that students will take my hand, or at the very least allow me to take theirs’. Yet, with many students I am only on chapter 1. And for some I have yet to even crack the book. And that is my fault.

I will work to improve upon this. So that when the time comes, I am not only needed. I am wanted.

I took this picture last week when my daughter was sleeping. When I showed it to her she told me she was a little creeped out. I told her she looked so beautiful I just had to. She’s nine. I get it. I will never fully understand what is going through my daughter’s mind. But one thing is for sure. She will not have ever to worry about what is going through mine. She will always be sure of me.

reach

“I sometimes wake in the morning and listen to the soft breathing of my child and I think to myself, this is the one thing I will never regret and I carry that quiet with me all day long”.

Brian Andreas

 

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11 Comments Leave a comment

  1. The way that you ended this piece is just beautiful. “But one thing is for sure. She will not have ever to worry about what is going through mine. She will always be sure of me.” I hope that all children have someone they can feel this way about.

  2. What a great post. You are a blessing to all of us, especially your family. I still deal with some of these issues, and am grateful to be blessed to work with teenagers who need to hear they are acceptable every day. It’s tough for them to believe it as a teenager when they haven’t heard this message earlier. Keep informing and strengthening us! I know I learn from you constantly.

  3. YES!!! Jon, you are an inspiring dad and person. I wish every dad had the depth of soul and love to realize the importance of accepting our kids as they are!!!

    THANK YOU!!

  4. Jon,
    As usual, a beautiful and heartfelt message. It rings so true to me because my daughter is struggling with her identity right now. The comfort and knowledge of our love for her was what, I think, has helped her to move forward in a positive and self-accepting way.

    Meanwhile, I see many children and youth everyday who don’t have that unconditional support from their parents. It breaks my heart for them, and yet points out to me that I need to show them my unconditional acceptance, and sometimes that means starting back at Chapter 1 with them!

    Thank you for always making me think, reflect and grow.

  5. Beautifully put. Your children are fortunate to have a father with such foresight. This message is important armor for them to wear.

  6. Hey Jon, This is a powerful post. As a fatherless daughter, I can not accurately describe (without getting too emotional or confusing) the gift you are giving your daughter each day by being the amazing Dad you are. It’s priceless and one of the most important things she will need as she grows up. Thanks for being you.

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