Today my heart swelled with pride, as I watched my child not go along with the crowd. At only 3 years old, she said “no, thank you”. Let me back it up a little. My daughter just started dance this year. On the 3rd day of class, each child was given...
a heart stamp right on the top of their hand. Well, personally I wasn’t thrilled, as I try to expose my children to the least amounts of chemicals as possible. My mind kicked into high gear watching each child wave their red heart stamped hands around as they emerged from the dance room. I already know that I have a unique way of thinking about things, and all I envisioned was the dyes absorbing into my child. What’s in it? Where’s if from? You get the idea! My daughter has always had sensitive skin, and was diagnosed with eczema as a baby. Sometimes I think I’m a little too happy to tell others, “no my child has sensitive skin, and she may break out.” Especially when it’s something I don’t want her to have. Well, this mommy didn’t have a say about the little red stamp!
She came out with her hand stamped just like every other child. I tried to hide my less than thrilled feelings as we made our way to the car. On the ride home, she told me she didn’t think the stamp was going to come off. I tried to reassure her that it would, while thinking, it better! Well, even after several hand washes and a bath, you could still see the stamp. By this point, we were both a little upset. I told her that if they offer you a stamp next week, simply say “no, thank you”. She agreed and went about her business.
Flash forward one week, we are on our way to dance class. I remind her about the stamp and what to say. She excitedly hurries into class. When the class ended, I watched as another stamp was pulled out and ready for action. I kept thinking, please say no thank you. One by one each child came out holding their hands up to show off their little stamp. I started to doubt if she would turn the stamp down. As my child appeared, she had a huge smile on her face. She came up to me holding her hand out. She said, “I told her no, thank you”. A flood of happiness filled my heart! Not because she turned the stamp down, but because she done what she wanted to do despite what everyone else was doing. She didn’t go along with the crowd.
I think it’s an easy, and hard thing for children to do. Easy, because they don’t truly know and understand the idea of “keeping up with others.” They simply make their own decisions and feel completely confident in them. Hard, because children often want what other kids have. I see this everyday as my children constantly fight over what the other one has. I’m using this as a life lesson to show my daughter that you are your own unique individual.
You don’t have to follow everyone else to be happy. Often, following others causes you to be unhappy because you are pretending to be something you are not. This rings true across every aspect of your life. I know this all started from a silly stamp, but it was an opportunity to start shaping the way my child values her own thoughts and feelings.