The other day, my son Blais and I were at choir rehearsal. I beamed at him as he sang his solos and instructed the choir of little boys and girls on when to repeat a chorus. When the practice was over, we walked out of the church and into a gorgeous September evening. We both felt good. At peace. He told me about his excellent grades in school, tests he needed to prepare for, and how much he wanted to do well.
Walking back to our car, we passed a small boy, who was running on the sidewalk and bursting with excitement. But then he turned and fell. His mom gasped out loud and, hearing her fear, the boy started to cry.

I told Blais: “When you were little, you used to trip and fall, too. You didn’t seem to mind. But I’d gasp and let out a big ‘Oh no!,’ rushing to you and asking if you were OK. You were so little – too little to tell me you weren’t hurt (toddlers don’t always hurt themselves when they fall.)

 

But my reaction startled you; it made you ‘realize’ something awful had happened, and only then you started to cry.”

My husband Matthew was always very stoic and composed. He suggested that, instead of gasping and screaming when our child falls, we parents should say something such as “Good fall!” and smile. This would help both my child and me to stay calm and not induce fear into every little fall. It would even help us to accept the scraped knees and bumps on the heads with more composure and then calmly take care of the child’s pain.
“And so,” I added, “you grew up confident and unafraid. And you learned to stay safe, too.”
“You and Tata have the best life tips ever! You should write a book!” Blais said as he got into the car. “Really! I’d love to have that book!”

I thought of this a bit more that night.

 

Often, when we find ourselves in difficult situations, it’s not the situation itself that scares us but the reactions of people around us.

“Should I be scared or worried?” we ask ourselves when we see someone’s worried face.
I once listened to a podcast of a neurosurgeon, who was an expert on stroke. She had suffered a stroke herself and, at the time, she was aware of everything that was happening to her but unable to communicate. She said in that interview that the worst part of her recovery was friends and family coming into her room, worried, crying and afraid for her. “Bring me your hopes, your joy and your love,” she said. That’s healing…
Here’s wishing you a beautiful day – and may all your falls and hurts be eased by encouragement and love – and as little worry and pity as possible.

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