HashBrowns…November 12-16, 2012 You Are What You Are!

Last night as we were driving home from the horse stables, Coco said something to me that I won’t ever forget…

“I love who I am. The way I believe things, and how I love nature. I just really like me.”

Seriously? Best words I’ve ever heard coming out of her mouth. Better than all the “I love you, Mamas” in the whole world.

This little girl is not only at peace with herself, but sharp enough and intuitive enough to recognize it and say it out loud.  At the age of 7.

I know that as parents, we try everything in our power to give our kids a strong sense of themselves. We want them to be confident and curious and determined. But no one gives us a no-fail instruction cheat sheet on how to do this.

I know I’ve tried my best…not always done my best…but I’m always trying.

I give my children choices; decisions to make when I believe they are ready for them. What kind of sandwich they’d like in their lunches, which pj’s they’d like from the mall, what colour of bowl they’d like their soup in…small decisions for small people. As they grow, the decisions they make come a little bigger.  But by learning to make a choice and live with its consequences, they learn to think things through. They learn they are capable.

My house may seem like it’s always play time, but it’s not a free for all here. My children have chores, responsibilities, limits, and very clear boundaries. They look after their own pets. They make their own beds. They get their breakfast on weekday mornings. The older ones help the littler ones with homework. Some of them even make dinner. They have bedtimes and curfews. They are not burdened or overwhelmed by these things. They are empowered.

Children build confidence by trying things and succeeding. They build empathy by trying things and failing. They learn dependability by doing things for others who cannot do for themselves. They learn care and accountability by having boundaries and testing them.

All of these things build confidence.

But don’t forget about fun. Children need an outlet for creativity. They need opportunity to be themselves. To run. To play. To talk. To dance. To make a mess. To laugh.

And mostly, they need a soft, safe place to fall. They need this as much as they need to breathe.

Hearing Coco tell me she loves who she is, was like hearing a little whisper in my ear saying, “You’re doin’ alright, mama…you’re doin’ alright.”

It felt good.

As I write these words, I am thinking maybe we grown-ups are no different. Maybe we’d all find a little more peace within ourselves if we did even a few of these things. Something to think about.

We are what we are, after all.

Thanks for stopping by,

~Arlee, Small Potatoes

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18 thoughts on “HashBrowns…November 12-16, 2012 You Are What You Are!

  1. Small decisions for small people.. I couldn’t agree more. And of course there confidence will grow in leaps and bounds by trying and succeeding. What a joy to hear your little girl say this! Wise little (big) girl!
    /Camilla

    • Camilla, it was SUCH a joy! I had goosebumps. And I so love fridays on the blog…I get to hear so many great insights from parents all over the world. I appreciate your words, always! Thank you 🙂

  2. The only kind of acceptance that’s really worth having is acceptance of ourselves. Unless we are at peace with ourselves, it’s so hard to accept anyone else. Great job, mama. This is a post I want to save and reread from time to time. A great reminder of what parenting is all about.

  3. I hear a lot of people say giving your kids the ability to chose this or chose that spoils them. Choices are TOUGH. Sometimes I have trouble deciding which bowl I want cereal in, I never know what I WANT for supper because I have never had to chose. If I could have mastered those choices and known what I WANT, NEED, AM, then the harder choices wouldn’t have been so hard.

    I hope Coco never loses that understanding of who she is and how awesome that someone is.

  4. I had tears reading this. It is so lovely to know there is a contented 7 year old in your world. The more the better. I have a 6 year old who told me she was “happy with not being good at doing cartwheels because all the girls don’t have to be the same”. It was so. good. to. hear.! Thanks for sharing your special moment.

  5. This speaks volumes to me. There are so many parenting philosophies out there. But this has always been where I stand firm with my children. I can’t wait to start following your blog. This was awesome.

  6. Have only just ‘found’ your small potatoes and am filled with joy – what inspirational ideas, images and words of wisdom. As an educator and a mother of a (delightful, gorgeous, inquisitive) 9 month old boy, I am thrilled to find a source of like-mindedness and creative and warm philosophies about play! Am looking forward to exploring more. Thank you!!

  7. I just found your blog and am a new mom to a baby girl. I had tears reading this and the amazingly aware, wise, contented, deep words your precious Coco spoke. I shared with my husband and we both hope, pray and dream we will equip our daughter with the tools you have to create such a beautiful, comfortable person!

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