Thursday, February 7, 2013
A question I'm glad I asked...
Proud Mommy Moment, before singing to Jillian at bedtime:
Me - "What do you like best about yourself?"
J - "That I'm my own self."
At this point, I was mentally jumping for joy, and just floored. Not surprised, but I guess taken aback by how deep her answer was. Yes, I asked her to reflect on herself, but she could have easily gone the direction of answering with something having to do with her physical appearance. However, I had actually anticipated her to answer with something having to do with the fact that she's good at reading. Even that answer would have led me to agree, but with a gentle followup to address the fact that her self-worth is something separate from what she's good at and/or how much she achieves. Sure, talents and achievements can build one's self-esteem, but I don't want her to NOT like herself if reading somehow became something she wasn't good at.
Me - "Wow. I like that answer. I think that's great! When you say your 'own self,' what do you mean by that?"
J - "Well, that I can be my own self and I don't have to be how everyone describes girls...like, I like that my favorite color is blue, and a lot of girls like the color pink." (she later pointed out that actually, it seems a lot of girls also like blue and turquoise, lol).
She didn't specify anything else, but I'm fairly certain that there are probably a lot of other ways in which Jillian - at least at some subconscious level - feels like she goes against the grain...and unapologetically so, which makes me happy. My hope is that these small, but powerful self-reflections are verbal manifestations of a spirit and soul that will always celebrate her own, unique qualities; and to trust her own self and her own judgement in matters of the heart and of character, even when - and especially when - she is hesitant to follow the crowd.
She's only 7 years old, but I feel like Jillian has unknowingly met a milestone that many of us work toward for much longer. It's one that needs nurturing and reinforcement after being met, as there are many forces that can negate such a fragile way of being...but I'm joyful for the fact that my daughter has not only verbalized a way of being, but has also recognized it as something good and something in which she takes great pride.