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Thank You, My Dearest Children, For Teaching Me Too!

My Mistake

Yesterday I had to humble myself and admit to my 14-year-old daughter that I was completely wrong. A year previously, her judgement had been much sounder and wiser than my own.

Honestly, I’d behaved like a petulant child, and she the adult. I’m embarrassed by my behaviour but on the basis that we all make mistakes, I will openly share here.

She’d applied for a part in a play, which formed part of Connections, the National Theatre’s annual, nationwide youth theatre festival.

I’m sure you can guess what happened! Although she felt the audition went positively, she didn’t get a role.

She was told that she was the very last person not to get offered a part. If one of the others had not accepted, she would have been next. She’d performed extremely well, especially being the youngest. It should have been something to celebrate.

Somehow for me though, it made it worse! I took it personally and felt angry and frustrated at the whole industry.

She was also due to work with the same director in a different youth group, helping to put on a creative festival in the summer.

I’m ashamed to admit that I said to her, “Well, if they can’t see your talent, perhaps you shouldn’t bother with the creative festival either.”

Her response was immediate and strong: “No Mummy, I’m going to work on the creative festival and show them what I can do, that I am mature enough. And then next year, I’m going to reapply and try again.”

Her response proved that at only 13, she was far more mature than me.

A Year Later…

She did exactly what she’d said, landing herself a role in this year’s production.

In that moment, she powerfully taught me the lesson of how limiting it can be to react emotionally or hold a grudge. As well as the value in being patient and a first-hand demonstration of the grit required to bounce back from a rejection.

Thank you, my dearest child, for teaching me.

It got me thinking about what else my children have taught me on this homeschooling journey of ours. Below is a letter I’ve written to them, as a thank you.

Dearest Rosie and Harry,

In my naivety I came into this homeschooling journey expecting always to be the guide, the teacher. But I was very wrong. The learning goes both ways. I have learned deeply from you both and for that I will be forever grateful.

To Rosie, thank you, for teaching me the importance of kindness. For those many moments in the car – my usual place to vent frustrations – for being the good angel on my shoulder. With calm little statements, like, “Mummy, they might be having a really bad day today, perhaps they can’t cope,” you pull me out of my funk and make me gentler, able to see outside of myself.

To Harry, thank you for educating me in the power of fair play. When you walked off the cricket square, openly admitting that your bat had hit the ball and you were out, even though the umpire hadn’t seen it, my inner competitor was worried. But watching the respect you earned from team mates on both sides, I could see this was worth far more than a few extra runs.

To Rosie, thank you for helping me find God in the everyday moments. You showed me how to talk to Him and ask for his guidance in the good times and the difficult ones.

To Harry, thank you for revealing to me just how much perfectionism holds me back. When I see you set a huge goal, like creating a band and writing your own songs, I am blown away by how quickly you get stuck in. You don’t wait for the “perfect” time, place, or equipment. You don’t get scared by the enormity of the task, nor do you freeze in the comparison game which so often derails me. Instead, you just get on and do it!

And Also,

To you both, thank you for showing me to dream big and to be fearless in pursuing what delights you, even when the going gets tough. But also, for demonstrating just how vital it is to play at these passions, to mess around and experiment with new approaches. In this way, you lose the rigidity and inflexibility that a more serious style would bring, which ultimately allows for a better and more enjoyable outcome.

Thank you, my children, for coaching me on the power of letting go, laughing loudly, playing wildly, and allowing spontaneous joy to radiate from my soul.

Thank you both, for teaching me how to be authentically me. Observing how you are both eclectically and uniquely yourselves, not needing to change who you are, what you say, do or even wear to fit in with the group, gives me the confidence to do the same. Rosie, do you remember the knickers on your head phase?!

Thank you for displaying so impressively the importance of curiosity. For asking those questions I never would have dreamed of, for pressing those buttons just to see what happens, for discovering new ways of doing things just by trying things a little differently.

And thank you for all the random facts, like how being creative in your twenties inhibits dementia decades later or that Iron Maiden had 23 different band members across 13 separate line ups!

To you both, thank you for showing me that to love deeply is the greatest gift of all.

Love Mummy xxxx

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  1. This is such a lovely letter. What awesome children you have!

    Our children really are amazing and teach us so many life lessons! They seem to be born with this inner knowledge. They quickly forgive and forget and don’t let a bad moment spoil the whole day and if they fail, they just try again, like there is nothing to lose. It’s remarkable how caring, honest, curious, passionate and fearless they are and how they always remember to have fun! It’s heartwarming how much I have learned from my son.

    1. Thank you so much Nicky!
      I completely agree with you, they’re a real gift and an absolute inspiration! It’s definitely a goal of mine this year to embrace my inner child a little more and find the joy in the everyday like my children seem so easily able to do!
      So lovely to hear from you about your son and how much you’ve learned from him too. Sending much love, xxx

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