During my recent travel, there were a few incidents that made me think about resilience and how we help our kids build their own.
Just after I boarded a plane and arrived in my seat, after holding up the plane for at least 10 minutes to get my kids situated, something dropped from the overhead bin just in front of me.
A lady was trying to reposition her bag to a new bin, and while pulling the bag out, her water bottle dropped out of the side pocket. Unfortunately, when the bottle fell, it hit a girl on the head.
The girl was not crying, but of course, it hurt. The mother then got really nasty with the woman who dropped the bottle, as if she had done it on purpose, and demanded that she go get her daughter some ice.
It was clear that it was an accident, and the woman who dropped it felt terrible. As I was watching this mother use her nasty, bitchy tone with the woman, I couldn’t help but say something.
I simply said, “It was an accident, and it doesn’t mean it didn’t hurt your daughter, but it was an accident, and she is clearly sorry. It’s not like the woman threw the bottle at your child.” The woman said, “Well, it’s not your child,” and I responded, “I have four kids.”
So yes, it’s not my child, but I know with certainty that if that were my daughter, I would be attending to her, trying to get her the help she needed, rather than being mean and trying to make someone else feel worse about something that was clearly an accident.
As I spent six hours behind this woman, I couldn’t help but think of the example she was setting for her child. None of us can protect our children 100% of the time, so I believe that how we respond when things happen to our kids, whether it’s a bottle being dropped on their head or a bully pushing them around at school, teaches them important lessons.
Showing each other compassion and empathy is critical, and it is one of the things that is sorely lacking in our world. When we have the opportunity to show compassion, we should take it, because we never know when we may need a favor returned.
I just felt that this mother spent more time shaming the other woman and demanding that she do something to take care of her child, rather than comforting her child and asking the staff for some help.
Making sure our kids feel loved, cherished, and taken care of doesn’t have to come at the expense of making someone else feel put down. We make our kids feel loved and seen by focusing on them, not by highlighting the mistakes of others.
We teach our kids resilience by showing them how to solve problems, not by emphasizing the mistakes of others. The example we set by how we treat others, teaches our kids how they should behave. Kids are sponges absorbing more than we could ever imagine.
Psssttttt….Being a parent is a tough job, but you are doing amazing and your kid is so lucky to have you!