Last weekend I took my daughter on a long vigorous walk up a local peak – a hike!
She had told me recently, that she did not like the top of her arms and was reluctant to wear clothing that revealed them.
I felt concerned, but managed to keep my own counsel until I had thought of a way to respond constructively, with care, and with truth.
Later that week, as I started to speak to her about something I wanted to say, she tried to stop me, and said I know what you are going to say.
I told her that I would prefer to say it anyway, and she reluctantly allowed me to do so.
I said, it is not that long ago, perhaps two years at most since you were proud to wear an off the shoulder dress for a big birthday celebration, and as I recall you looked stunning and there was no mention of you not liking the top of your arms – what has changed?.
I just don’t like them anymore, she replied.
I said to her, it fills me with concern that you should place on yourself such a restriction when unless something has happened to them, which has changed their appearance – a tattoo perhaps or an injury – you should restrict yourself to such an extent on an internal belief system which thwarts your life.
I said to her, please don’t build fences around yourself which close down your opportunities to be yourself.
Please don’t be such a harsh judge which fears so much the opinion of others, or is concerned with what other people think – be yourself, be happy, you are young and beautiful and you have life’s full potential ahead of you.
I said to her, I have an idea, let’s go for a long walk up a local peak on Saturday.
She seemed interested, but she supplied me with a whole list of reasons why she could not do the walk – it would be too difficult and she might fail to reach the top and I’d be cross if we had to turn back.
I assured her that she could do the walk, that she would succeed, that it would be difficult in parts of it, but she would reach the top.
After various messages of re-assurance she agreed to come with me.
She had absolutely no difficulty in reaching the top and she loved the experience.
We had a fantastic day of father and daughter time and she could hardly control her excitement as she related her achievement to her mother and her boyfriend.
I said to her, please don’t say you can’t do something you have not tried.
Please don’t fear trying and failing.
Please don’t think yourself into a state of denying yourself opportunities to experience new challenges, especially at such a young age.
Now, I said, you can climb any hill you like, and you can choose not to do so on the basis of experience not of fear.
And also, please translate this learning and this sense of fulfillment into all aspects of your life’s choices and consider please, if the mood takes you, to wearing a sleeveless top.
My next blog will be: A Kind Little Boy