I am a helping professional. In my 10-plus years in my field, I have met some incredibly resilient individuals. Individuals who have sacrificed immeasurable amounts of time and energy for what and whom they believe in; who exemplify courage and resolve and persevere when many quit. That being said, I have never, in my 33 years, met anyone as persistent, as willing to persevere, as a two year old who feels it is his/her right as a small American to have and consume the elusive fruit snack (feel free to substitute any demand here).
I wish that I had the courage (and stamina) to throw myself on the ground, quite literally, for what I believe in. I wish I had the strength to come up against a wall time and time again and continue my attempt to knock it down with the resolve that my toddler exhibits. This child cares about nothing more than making certain her point, her feelings, and her needs are clear and met!
All joking aside, I have beheld this behavior in both my son and daughter and every time, their antics spark in me the fire to do more; to advocate a bit harder, a bit longer. My children know that the flailing, the yelling, the carrying on will likely not end in “getting their way” or getting whatever snack it is they feel they’re entitled. But, it will get my attention and we will sit down (likely on the floor) and attempt to talk about what is happening and how we’re going to get through it.
Personally, I am inclined to–and good at–advocating for others. However, these episodes of mass persistence exhibited by my children make me think: could I be doing more? Is my “fight” inhibited in any way by my/our social norms? Is my level of advocacy being subdued by what I feel I have been told I “should” or “shouldn’t” do as a woman, person, wife, mother and etcetera? Am I worried about being “too much”? The answer is quite probably yes to all of the above if we’re being honest.
My kids? They are definitely not worrying about how their behavior, beliefs, fight is worrying others or what anyone thinks. Why? Because they feel safe to express themselves in this space.
This is something I can respect and get behind. Tantrums and flailing aside, I respect their unrestrained expressions. We all need to have a space, no matter how small, in which we feel safe to speak, to question, to demand and to advocate for ourselves and others as necessary. My hope for each of us is that we feel safe to express ourselves and willing to get on the floor with someone else to ensure they are feeling heard.
You’ll likely not find me in the throes of a tantrum in hot pursuit of a fruit snack any time soon, but I will continue to open myself up to the lessons being thrown at me on the daily.