After observing my daughter over the past three years of her short life, I have concluded that she is definitely not a push-over. She is strong-willed, determined, and stands up for herself.
My parents tell me I was like that until age five when I entered kindergarten. They said they were worried I would never have friends because I was constantly bossy. But once I started school, they said I did a 180. I immediately took on roles like teacher's pet and the goody-two-shoes. I always let other kids boss me around and was the kind and quite one.
I look at my daughter and wonder, will she turn out like me? Will she remain strong-willed and feisty? I want her to be whoever Father has created her to be. I don't want to mold her into an image I have created myself for her.
She makes friends instantly whenever we walk into a room. She runs around playing endlessly for hours without even a glance back in my direction. She is confident.
Today I was her teacher for the Sunday service nursery. I watched her.
She is a leader.
There was a little boy in the class who is under foster care. My junior high and high school years were spent helping my parents raise our foster kids who lived with us, so I knew what to expect with this sweet boy. You never know what kind of dysfunctional or abusive home these kids have come from. He obviously had some behavioral problems but we just had to deal with it the best we could.
He would often take toys from other children and push them away from items they were sitting on. All the children let him boss them around.
Yep, you guessed it.
Good thing I was the teacher :) Every time he would take a toy from her, she would cry out for justice and scold him. She refused to be bullied. I pulled her aside and had a conversation with her I've never had to before. I explained that this little boy probably came from a home where his mommy or daddy were not nice people, and he has most likely had a very hard life. I told her that we need to have grace on him and forgive him when he takes our toys. We tried our best to coax him to obey, but it usually didn't work. I told her that yes, it wasn't right that he was doing that, but I needed her to be a big girl and forgive him every time even if it was difficult. She sniffed, stopped crying, said "Okay", then went on playing. I was proud of her. Very proud.
We took her to the Mall of America last week and let her play in Lego Land. She was building with her legos, then turned around to look at something for a moment. In that instant a boy about the age of 9 or 10 came over and took over her spot. He started playing with the tower she had created. The minute she realized what had happened, she walked over to him and with all the confidence in the world she patted his arm and replied, "Sorry, sorry. I was playing here. You have to move." She pushed him aside and he quietly complied. I'm glad she doesn't let people push her around. It makes me chuckle when I see her stand up to bigger kids. I just have to make sure she learns to be respectful and considerate in these kinds of situations :)
I've spent the majority of my life learning to be free of people-pleasing. I hope that throughout her life we can help her learn the importance of loving others yet standing up for yourself when needed.
She's strong and she's determined.
She's my girl :)