Today my son was home from school and we colored together. This is not just a picture of my face and my child’s drawing. It is a symbol of a really sweet moment I had with my son today while we were coloring together, but it took me racking my mind, and my heart to find the best way to get there.
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On his first try my son colored outside of the lines and so wanted to start again. On his second try he started asking me to color in the flower petals for him so he wouldn’t color outside of the lines again. I would tell him that he can do it but he would insist that he wanted me to do it. I knew that it didn’t feel right for me to color it in for him but I struggled with finding the most empowering yet supportive words to urge him to do it himself.
I see this a lot with my kids; they want me to do things for them because they think I can do it better. Explaining that the only reason It might look like I can color in the lines, or pour the milk, or anything else I might do “better” is because I’ve had a lot more years of practice doesn’t make them feel better about it or more empowered. I imagine it would just make me feel like I have a long way to go until I will feel happy and complete with myself and my abilities!
I also didn’t want to tell him I wouldn’t color them in for him, because that can be harsh.
I ended up looking deep into those sweet chocolate eyes and telling him: I am right here to help you and I will always be here to help you, but I am sure that you can color in the flower petals beautifully and I would love to see how you can do it.
He lit up and not only began to color in his petals but also wanted to color in mine! He couldn’t stop smiling and he was soooooo proud of himself.
It doesn’t help when we do things for our kids, we want them to know that we believe in them, but we also want to make sure that we are here as their safety net.