The Best Gift to Your Child

I love it when I get a chance to sit down with Kelly. Kelly Goelz is the Program Director at Rocky Mountain Riding Therapy. Kelly’s cheeriness is contagious and I love her upbeat approach to life. She gave me permission to recount the conversation below, that took place between herself and her daughter Ava.

“Mom, am I bad?”

“Bad? What do you mean bad? Of course you are not bad.”

“My teacher said I was bad.”

It is not the first time my 2nd grader has come home with derogatory comments from her teacher. I want to put things in perspective as I imagine it must be hard to teach a bunch of wriggly 2nd graders. I feel for her teacher who is on the verge of retirement. I believe she was once enthusiastic about teaching and lost her passion over the years, no doubt consumed by the demands of her job. Yet, I bring my focus on my daughter. I ask her to take a deep breath and suggest we name all the people in her life who love her for who she is. I start “I love you, your Dad loves you and your sister loves you too. She nods. The list is growing. I am about to add another name when she exclaims: “and there is me Mom! You forgot to say there is me! I love myself!”

My heart takes a leap in my chest. It has been a priority for me to teach my daughters to honor themselves because they are worthy. And here is my 2nd grader, exclaiming that she loves herself!

It struck me how well equipped, early in life this young girl is. She is her own best ally. What a gift her mother has given her!

How about us? Do we know to teach our children to love themselves for who they are? Do we know to differentiate their being-ness from their accomplishments? Do we have enough self-love to model it for them? It is not too late to become aware and to be the change we want to see in our children.