Love: Balancing Lioness and Letting Go

There was a moment last year while picking my daughter up from kindergarten when I witnessed her teacher squat down in front of her, grab her by both shoulders and speak directly into her face. Claire’s head fell in what appeared to be shame, and she walked slumped and withered to her backpack, where she stood still for a moment.

Another mother saw it too. We looked at each other with question.

“I wonder what that’s about?” I said.

I walked over to Claire and the teacher on the ramp where the kids collect their backpacks and are released to their parents.

“Ms. B, is there something I should know?” “I saw you bend down to speak with Claire, is there something I should follow up on?”

“Oh, I was just telling Claire we will do points tomorrow”, she replies in a high-pitched, innocent voice.

“You mean the points that earn stickers?” I ask, imagining my lovely Claire boldly reminding the teacher that she forgot to hand out the stickers. I know my daughter. I don’t pretend she is perfect. She has the most compassionate heart, and can be a bit sassy.

“Yes, we will take care of that tomorrow. We ran out of time today.”

IMG_5566I walk away confused. What I witnessed did not match up at all energetically with what the teacher relayed to me.  I am reminded of my experience growing up in alcoholism. What I intuitively knew was going on in our home did not match up with what I was told.

One of the most devastating effects of growing up with this type of incongruence was the distrust of my intuition. I became riddled with self-doubt. It’s no one’s fault. I was young. I thought the adults around me must be smarter than I, so I doubted myself and trusted them. Unfortunately, they didn’t end up trustworthy.

I thought of all the years I spent recovering from the effects of growing up in an alcoholic home. How long it has taken to trust myself and my intuition, to finally believe in myself. I thought how I didn’t want my precious daughter to lose faith in herself. I didn’t want Claire’s kindergarten teacher to plant the seed of confusion and self-doubt into her fertile mind and heart.  I thought of how my daughter had already expressed to her dad and me that she didn’t think her teacher liked her.

“What makes you say that?”

“Well, she says things in a nice voice, but she looks angry.”

So I talk with Claire. I tell her that when that happens to me I sometimes feel confused and frustrated. She agrees. I tell her if she feels confused she can always tell us, and she can talk with her teacher about it. I assure her that it is absolutely acceptable that she say to her teacher, “I feel confused because your voice sounds happy, but the way you are looking at me seems like you are mad at me”.

She’s five. She may never be able to talk to her teacher like that. But I want her to know I support her in standing up for herself, in asking questions for clarity so she doesn’t just assume she is somehow at fault or unworthy.

God how I don’t want her to feel at fault or unworthy… the way I mistakenly did for so many years. I want to shield her from that kind of pain and self-doubt. I want to make sure she knows how truly lovely she is, how loved she is, how wanted she is, how worthy she is, how utterly amazing she is. I want her to have the intuition to know her purpose and the confidence to fulfill it.

So I start thinking…I should address this with her teacher. I know she is a good woman, and I don’t expect her to be perfect. I have compassion for her – young wife and mother, long commute to work, and teaching 20 kindergarteners. I completely understand being exhausted and overreacting. For god’s sake, I am a mother, a wife and a business owner.  I lose my temper. But the difference is, I own it. After calming down, I return to Claire and I acknowledge that I was frustrated, tired, impatient – whatever it may be – and I apologize for how I spoke.

This is a teachable moment, right? I mean, we want kids to learn accountability, shouldn’t Ms. B be accountable for the reaction she had with Claire that was so out of balance to what she was communicating. I want to request that she apologize to Claire for overreacting, owning her grumpiness, and requesting that Claire communicate with her manner words.ThoughtfulHonestIntelligentNecessaryKind

Thank God I sleep on it.

By the following day I put it to my THINK test. Always THINK before I speak.

Is it Thoughtful, Honest, Intelligent, Necessary, and Kind?

Sure I could package it in a thoughtful, honest, intelligent and kind conversation… but was it necessary? No.

I cannot protect Claire from every bad mannered, ill tempered and, god forbid, abusive person in the world. I can only arm her with the confidence to have her own boundaries and to know who she is. I can let her know that Mommy and Daddy are on her team. I can reassure her that she is worthy. And by not trying to control her environment I am giving her the opportunity to exercise and strengthen those skills, building her emotional immunity to the negative viruses that she is bound to encounter throughout her life.

So I let it go. I had already talked with her about the confusion, her right to ask questions (even of authority), and her worth.

In my mind, I place her in her higher powers hands and I build a little more faith – faith that she will be OK- exercising my own muscles of letting go.