We could parent boys or girls.
As we have been preparing for this monumental change, I've been examining our lives and the lessons we may impart. I was surprised by a couple silent messages (lies) I found in my life.
Message #1: Failure is Unacceptable.
Somewhere along the line, I bought into the lie that in all things, at all times, I must strive for perfection in everything I do. Failure was not an option for me in my book. I have slowly been working on this one for quite a while now. Somehow I forgot that failure is a normal part of human life and it is the path through which learning occurs. But, by trying to avoid the sting of failure, I isolated myself from the thrill of a hard-earned victory after multiple attempts.
Message #2: Self-Limits are Acceptable.
In order to avoid failure, I began to slowly limit myself and stop doing things that were not my strengths. I told myself that it was better for me to play to my strengths and outsource things that were my weaknesses. When I tell myself that I am not good with tools, computers, math, or any other difficult project, I was not allowing myself to thrive in new settings.
Message #3: I Can't.
Before I even tried new things or difficult projects, I would give a knee-jerk reaction of "I can't." I would not try because I was afraid that I could not.
So what does this have to do with fostering?
As we are preparing to foster, we are working to get our house up to the CPS-level standards necessary to be entrusted with a child. We are moving things, rearranging items, installing stuff, and other such fixings.
I found myself removing doorknobs and reinstalling safer ones. With my husband's guidance, I installed and moved/installed smoke detectors. I was sorting, organizing, and securing tools in multiple toolboxes. I hooked up my own computer and less than a week later, I swapped desks with my husband (he was on board with it too), prompting me to switch & hook up two computers.
This was when I realized that to change the messages I send to our kids, I would need to first change these messages in me as I replace lies with truth.
Truth #1: Failure is How We Learn:
I realized that I did not want to teach our kids that they should not go to bat because they were afraid that they might strike out. Instead I want them to know that failure is normal and a learning process.
Truth #2: Growing and Challenging Myself is Acceptable:
I did not want our kids shying away from Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math because it is hard or too boy-dominated. I want them to try, struggle, fail, struggle, and finally succeed because that journey has made them into a person who does not give up at the first sign of potential trouble.
Truth #3: I am capable:
I did not want our kids to not even try because their inner voice was telling them that they can't. But rather, I want them to have truth rooted so deeply in them, that whenever a voice of society feeds them lies, the truth will speak out. People do not have to play dumb or play stereotypes to fit the world's molds. Girls can reinstall doorknobs. Boys can do laundry. We can make a difference in the world.
We just have to try.