This sounds so good, in theory. Of course as a parent and in particular a mom I am called to protect their feelings. What kind of mom would want her child's heart broken?
"You can't do that," I said sternly, not caring if his parents were nearby. I think I nearly growled at him.
And, in public:
The truth is, the thought of either of my kids hurting, of feeling neglected or rejected, stabs a knife into my heart.
But, they will.
Not that we should allow bullying in the name of "making him stronger." But: our kids don't live in bubbles. What kind of disservice am I doing by not showing them how to deal with the painful and uncomfortable, and move beyond it, to forgive and overcome? What kind of message am I sending if they never push themselves, never hurt but still love, never miss out on something but choose to still be thankful?
About six months ago the kids were in a McDonalds play area, clamoring through the tunnels. The place was jammed with children and many of them happened to be screeching. From my spot down below I had no idea where the kids actually were at any given moment. Anna came down the slide and walked up to me, looking indignant.
"This big boy in there kept standing in front of the slide and wouldn't let anyone go by unless they told him how old they were," she reported. "He kept asking Ethan and Ethan wouldn't answer him. So he called him dumb."
Ouch. And there it was, my fears realized. Anna kept going.
"I yelled at him and told him he wasn't dumb. He knew how to answer. And that he is my brother!"
There are moments that hurt but then slowly meld into something else.
"Anna," I told her as we walked to the car. "I'm so proud of you."
Sometimes you have to let them go. You have to trust. You have to accept what is. You have to know they aren't really yours, that Someone else is looking after them. And when you can believe that, you don't have to be quite as perfect anymore.