Day 39: Give Your Children Tools

It is not what you do for your children, but what you have taught them to do for themselves, that will make them successful human beings.

~ Ann Landers

Today’s inspirational quote reminded me of my daughter.  Specifically, my daughter and her disability.  She was born deaf, and as a family, we never treated her any different.  The memory that came to mind when reading this quote was a critical moment that I believe helped to define who my daughter became later in life.

She was young (7 or 8 at the time) and we had purchased a brand-new bike for her.  At first, she was excited to ride it and she ran outside full of determination.  It wasn’t long before she stumbled back inside, alligator tears streaming down her cheeks, and mumbling about how she couldn’t possibly ride that bike because she was deaf, and being deaf meant that she couldn’t do the things other kids did.  This moment was critical in her life, and my reaction to her statement carried even more weight.

I knelt in front of her, looked her directly in the eye, and said, “Don’t ever use your disability as an excuse.”

She immediately cast her eyes to the floor, her lips trembled, and more tears flowed.

I lifted her chin and followed up with this, “Being deaf will never stop you from doing what you want.  Only you will stop yourself.”

In that moment, understanding flashed in her eyes.  She wiped her tears, pushed her shoulders back, turned toward the door, and out she went.  I watched from the window.  She picked her bike up, got on, and pedaled away.

I gave her the best thing I could have ever given her – the ability to believe in herself.  I think it’s what we must do as parents.  We must show our children that despite the obstacles, anything can be achieved if you believe in yourself.

I think I have taught my children well, and I have been blessed to witness the amazing results.  Give your children the tools to achieve whatever they set out to achieve.

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