May 30, 2004

So Proud of her

This is another story about my daughter. We, as a family, had a wonderful day yesterday. We spent a few hours at the beach -- we joined a beach club not far from where we live. In fact, it is only 1.9 miles from our driveway to the entrance of the beach club. The kids played on the beach all day and ran in and out of the waves and dug in the sand and ate a big lunch and took long naps. The weather was beautiful and it was really quite perfect.

After naps ended, we returned for dinner. You can have dinner very casually outside. When we finished dinner, we went for a walk along the shore and my daughter, who had picked up an old tennis ball, saw some kids playing a sort of baseball game on the big lawn with a tennis ball and tennis racquet. She got very excited and ran over to watch, about a hundred yards away. At that point, the boys hit their ball into a flower bed and couldn't find it. My daughter went over to the flower bed, too. I suppose she just wanted to see what the boys were doing. The boys, by the way, were probably about 10 or 11 years old and towered over my little 3 1/2 year old daughter. Two of the boys saw that she was carrying a ball and took her ball from her. I was too far away to do anything more than watch here but she told me what happened when I did arrive. The boys said to her that it was their ball. And she stood up for herself and said that, no, it was her ball and she brought it with her from dinner. And so the boys gave it back. This is what she told me when I got there. Then she said to me, in a very quiet voice, that she was too shy to say thank you to the boys for giving her the ball back. So I told the boys thank you for her.

I was so proud of her for standing up for herself to these older kids. I was also quite grateful that these were nice boys who let her stand up for herself. Maybe I'm reading too much into this, but I want to raise a strong woman who never lets anyone push her around. I have worried that she is too nice, that she lets other children take her toys and that she, in essence, won't push back when the world pushes her first. Well, she pushed back last night, when she was outnumbered, outsized, and all alone. And she did it calmly and didn't cry. I hope that she learned a lesson from this. I know I did.

Someone once wrote that when you have children, you have given hostages to fortune. I have felt that way all along. I want to protect her from everything and I know that I can't. So, instead, I concentrate on building character in small ways, so that the big ways will come naturally and more easily. I am trying to make a person here. I am trying, because I can't protect her always, to give her the tools to protect herself and to stand up for herself and, especially, to have the self confidence and to instill in her the belief that she is valuable, valued, and intrinsically worth standing up for. She made me so proud and, as I reread this post, I don't think that I managed to convey even a portion of what I was feeling and how I reacted, inside, to this little incident. I lack the skills and feel it too keenly.

Posted by Random Penseur at May 30, 2004 06:42 AM
Post a comment

Remember personal info?