Redefining Bravery

K came from the dentist today. A few tears, but we "practiced" at home, and he breathed and surfed his way through the "adrenaline" and "fast heartbeat" to calm down.

I was pretty proud of him for being brave. We talked about it in the car: 

it's not "not being scared" but being scared and doing it anyway, which he totally, totally did.

I was about to say, "That wasn't so bad, was it?" til I caught myself. We say it so often we don't even think it, but what would I be telling my son had I said that?

That his bravery - all the effort he put into working through his fears - was wala lang pala? That this Big Deal for him was, eh, just "not so"? Or even worse: teaching him that scared feelings aren't valid, and so if someone else is feeling that way, ano ba, it's not so bad? That's like anti-compassion. Your struggles aren't "so bad", snap out of it, bakit ka naghihirap eh keri lang naman dapat 'yan?

I didn't want to teach my kid that. :(

That was the opposite of what I meant. And so instead I said, that he was brave. That he felt validly scared, worked legitimately hard to make it through, and did it. And that this is now something that he knows he can do! (To which he said, Mommy, tell me more about adrenamine!)

They say it's the small things. And I'm definitely still learning and catching myself. But I'm hoping one day, it's a little thing that will make a big difference - in my son's life, and with whoever he passes this on to.

I realize my son is teaching me more than he knows — just by being my son! I would have so easily thrown phrases around before, but this cutie is now giving me opportunities for pause. I share little tidbits I pick up from my little tidbit here!

and K and I will be saying hello in your inbox on Sundays!