“Look, Mommy, I did it!”
I couldn’t see the school playground from my front porch, but I heard the girl’s high-ptiched voice. Her audible excitement made me smile; wonder…
Did the girl cross the monkey bar’s without falling? Swing without Mommy’s help? Do a cartwheel?
My three children are grown, but I remember their triumphant shouts whenever they accomplished a new feat.
Victory tasted sweet; called for applause.
Even before they could vocalize their thoughts, my children’s grinning faces said “look at me” as they each learned to walk. Like a new-born colt, they’d wobble, collapse to the floor, then rise again as I cheered them onward.
One step. Two. Then four hurried steps into my outreached arms. “You did it!”
However, those baby steps enabled my children to eventually walk away from me. Off they went to school, slumber parties, summer camp, part-time jobs, college, and life. While I stood by—watching, cheering, praying—as they did it!
The hardest challenge was balancing my realistic concerns for their personal safety with their need to become independent.
For example, I had to know when to stop holding my son’s hand when we crossed the street. Then I had to stop telling him (and trust him) to look both ways before he crossed the street. Because now that my son’s away at college, I don’t even know when he crosses the street.
This summer, my son wanted to drive to San Francisco for the day. Dread swept through my stomach like shards of glass. I tried to dissuade him. Suggested public transportation as an alternative.
Why? Because the thought of navigating any huge city with heavy traffic intimidates me. I warned my son, “You can’t do it. You’re inexperienced!”
Implication: you’re incapable. Nice vote of confidence, right?
However, my fear of driving wasn’t my son’s fear. He relished the challenge. And, he did it!
I wonder how often parents prevent their children from trying something new or accepting a challenge due to our own fears and limitations.
When the Israelites were afaid to enter the Promised Land, Caleb responded, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it.” (Numbers 13:30)
Imagine the reaction of Astronaut Armstrong’s family when he said, “I’m going to walk on the moon.” Did they encourage him? Or say, “You’re crazy? It’s never been done!”
My friend, Angie—who became a quadriplegic—refused to think of herself as disabled; hated the word, “CAN’T.” She earned a scuba diver’s licence and swam (with assistance) in the Pacific Ocean.
I pray my children will have the same confidence, courage, and conviction of people like Caleb, Armstrong, and Angie.
In fact, when’s the last time you did something you’ve always wanted to do? Were afraid to do?
I can still hear the thrill in that little girl’s voice. “Look, Mommy, I did it!”
And you know what?
It makes we want to taste victory too.