My kids are each their own person.
They have different interests, different personalities.
They are different from each other, different from us.
And we try to honor that, allowing them to explore their interests and knowing where their comfort zones fall.
If you’re never pushed out of your comfort zone, if you’re always allowed to stay there, do you grow? Do you discover new things about yourself?
If no one ever encourages you to try something new, even if you’re a little afraid, isn’t that a possible loss?
So yes, sometimes we push our kids a bit.
Not in an extreme way. If one of our kids had a fear of heights, we wouldn’t force him to jump out of an airplane. But maybe we’d want him to take in the view from an airplane window and see the beauty below. We’re not talking about shoving our kids into something that absolutely terrifies them, something we know they’ll hate, something that will make them miserable… but just a small push into something we think would stretch them just a little.
Trying a new sport or activity or food, meeting someone new… especially when we have a pretty good feeling they really will like this new thing… yes, sometimes we push.
We don’t give them an out when we know it’s something they can do or something they’ll really like. They’d never get a chance to find that out if we gave them an easy out.
Last week, when we were at Disney World for Disney Social Media Moms, one of my boys wasn’t so sure of some of the rides. But, though he doesn’t remember the last time he was there because he was so young back then, we have been to other amusement parks. And he has enjoyed the rides. Maybe some more than others, but he’s gone on everything he was tall enough for and had a good time overall. So, we knew it wouldn’t be torture for him. And we knew he’d have a much better time if he went on rides with us rather skipping them all to sit on a bench with his grandma.
There were some he’d tell us that he didn’t want to go on… but we KNEW he’d like. And if we let him sit out once, he’d then think it was okay to sit them all out. And suddenly, he’s missing out on the experience of Disney World and he’d be bored in the most magical place on earth. Nope, not going to happen.
He ended up having a great time. He wants to go back and he talks about his favorite rides, most of which he wouldn’t have gone on had we not pushed.
Sometimes kids need a push… sometimes adults do, too. Comfort zones are called that for a reason and while it’s okay to stay there sometimes or even most of the time, everyone needs to stretch out of theirs every once in a while.
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