“Mama, I look brave in that picture!”
“Yes you do, little man. Yes you do.”
We talk a lot about bravery in our house. Nate and I stand over Selah’s bed each night, saying a blessing of love and character over her. She ends her day hearing her father command the words, “…and may you be brave enough to be kind to others and courageous enough to do the right thing.” She hears the shortened version from my mama lips as I quickly dot sunscreen on her face in the morning school drop-off line. “Remember today that God made you smart and beautiful. Be brave. Be kind.” Usually it ends with a bonus, “now run up before they close the gate,” but you get the idea.
I’m learning what bravery looks like. When I was little I thought being brave meant not being scared to walk down a dark hallway. Nate has a story about sleeping with a bat under his bed so he could beat up the wild things or monsters or assorted bad guys who might come calling.
Now I know that sometimes being brave is seeing the risk analysis not weighing in your favor, but going for it anyway. This means showing who you are, who you really are to someone. It means trying something for the first time even though you’re unsure and it means doing something for the thousandth time even though you know you stink at it (which is brutal for those of us still jumping through those blazing performance and perfectionist hoops). It means bridging the gap in a friendship by showing up to things.
It means getting out of our own way and risk looking stupid. And when our art/writing/dinner/personality/friendship/self isn’t received, not letting our world and sense of self cave. Being resilient enough to share our true selves again.
I’m writing this mostly as a reminder to myself. Watching my kids play and DISCOVER reminds me of how often my decisions and actions have been ruled by fear/worry/anxiety. I want my kids to be brave.
Brave enough to explore and discover the world. Brave enough to be self-assured in their self-worth. Brave enough to love themselves. To love others. To give their gifts and make a clear path through leadership that allows others to do the same.
To be a little person in God’s big, big world and not be afraid.