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  • Matt Sharp

"Daddy, I am Strong"


“I am strong. I can do this” - Ella

The background

One of the proudest moments that I’ve had as a parent happened when Ella was around 2 years old. It started as a way to start building some night time routines. Each night before bed, I work with her to say the following three times:

I am strong.

I am brave.

I can do this.

We began this nighttime routine as a way to help train her response to difficult situations. I’ve always been a fan of training the mind through verbal repetition to help train my response when I am forced to deal with a difficult decision or situation.

Little Brother Strikes

About a month into this routine, my 20 month old son acquired the ability and desire to climb to the top of Ella’s GymBed. Since this wasn’t safe, we had to remove the bottom climbing sections on the bed. This kept my son from being able to climb up, but it also made it extremely difficult to climb into the bed. Because of this, I was a little worried that Ella would no longer be able to climb into her bed without help.

Time to climb

So the night we removed the climbing sections comes and Ella says her nightly mantra (I am strong, I am brave, I can do this). She then walks over to her bed and surveys the scene. I was thinking to myself that I’m not sure how she’s going to climb into this bed because she can barely reach the lowest hanging handle. After staring at the bed for a second, she walks over and climbs on on top of a stuffed animal, stretches to reach the first handle, grabs ahold and then swings a leg over the lowest rung and reaches up grab the next hold. At this point, she’s essentially hanging sideways and needs to make a pretty bold move to keep going.

Time to intervene

As Ella is hanging sideways trying to reach the next hold, I walk over to her to and say “here, let me help you.” As I finish saying this, and as she as she’s straining to reach the next hold she grits her teeth and says:

“No daddy, I am strong. I can do this”

Then, like something out of a movie she pulled her body weight up, reached the top rung and scaled the side. As Ella bounced into bed she turned to me with the biggest smile that she could muster.

Strength and Independence

I know this may seem like a small feat in the grand scheme of things, but to me it was one of the proudest and most special moments that I’ve had with my daughter. Scaling the bed like a champ is very cool, but what made the most proud was how she reacted to the challenge. When she encountered difficulty, instead of relying on help from me she chose strength and independence.

Kids today are constantly faced with situations that can beat them down over the course of their childhood. Relationships, hyper-connectivity, peer pressure, etc all take their toll on our children, but one thing that truly believe

The greatest gift I can give to my kids is the person I help them become.

#strongkids #childdevelopment #parenting

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