A few short months before my dad died, he gave me one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received. During a conversation we shared a decade ago, he said eight words that will be with me forever.
He said, “I want to be you when I grow up.”
Just last week, in a conversation with my 10 year old daughter, I realized that I pass on this gift to her. Here’s what happened:
We noticed a problem with one of the cylindrical bird feeders outside our kitchen window. It was missing all its perches on one side, which meant the territorial goldfinches could not properly utilize the feeder.
On an afternoon shortly afterwards, my daughter emerged with a grin and said she wanted to show me something. New perches for the feeder! She let me know that she’d gone searching for the perfect perches in the forest. And that she had dragged a ladder to the feeder and replaced the missing perches herself. Sure enough, it was now covered with beautiful gold finches.
I gasped and proclaimed how proud I was of her! She looked down, a tad dejected, and said, “But it was Papa’s idea, not mine.”
I paused and, hearing my dad’s voice, said to her “But it was YOU who made it happen! It is one thing to come up with an idea but another to act on it. That’s what you do and I love that about you. I’d like to be more like you.”
You can imagine how she felt in that moment. Selfishly, I felt pretty happy too; remembering back to a time when I basked in my Dad’s admiration and approval!
It’s so easy overlook the “small triumphs” with our children− those moments of wonder that as adults we so easily take for granted. Let your child know how special they are, just for being who they are.
It’s a gift they’ll carry with them forever.
Most of us became parents long before we have stopped being children. — Mignon McLaughlin
Children need guidance and sympathy far more than instruction. —Anne Sullivan