Strong enough to care.
Strong enough to respect others.
Strong enough to listen.
Strong enough to change one’s mind.
Strong enough to rely on another.
Strong enough to learn.
Strong enough to say “I’m sorry.”
Strong enough to say “Thank you.”
Strong enough to let another go first.
Strong enough to practice compassion.
Strong enough to be gracious.
Strong enough to be kind.
Strong enough to help others.
Strong enough to let others take the credit.
Strong enough to sacrifice.
Strong enough to bear disappointment.
Strong enough to risk.
Strong enough to be empathetic.
Strong enough to kneel down in order to look a child in the eye.
Strong enough to extend a hand.
Strong enough for tears.
Strong enough to forgive.
Strong enough to share.
Strong enough to lift another up.
Strong enough to be generous.
Today on Facebook I saw and shared a photo which listed 33 adjectives you could call your daughter besides princess and beautiful.
It caught my attention because words matter.
And what we say to our children hear matters.
And what we say to each other matters.
The words we use both shape and describe what we see and feel and experience. But, the photo with its list of words made me think about how I want to be today. What if, instead of just saying something like this to our children, we also said it to ourselves.
Would it make a difference?
So, on the off chance it might make a difference, here is my list of how I want to be today. If I can’t be all these, maybe I can at least be a couple of them.
It always comes as a bit of a surprise that sometimes people remember and take seriously what I say on a Sunday morning. An example of this is on our dining room table. A month or so ago, in a Sunday morning reflection, I referenced three questions which two parents asked their children each day.
How were you kind today?
Where did you try something new and fail?
How were you brave today?
I sat down for dinner on evening after that sermon and on our dining room table were three rocks. Each rock had one of those questions written on it in marker. Now each night when we sit down to eat, whether or not we directly ask or answer them, those questions are a part of our meal.
The question “How were you kind today?” is easy.
In my interactions with others I do my best to be kind and respectful.
“Where you try something new and fail?” is harder.
So much of our days are doing those tasks which are a part of each day.
But the truth is I need to learn to risk more than I do.
But, the question I have been thinking about the most is “How were you brave today?”
Given situation and circumstance, I recognize there are different levels of bravery.
The bravery of first responders.
The bravery of walking across the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, AL.
The bravery of working on hands and knees to dig survivors out of the rubble in Aleppo.
But for me…
Where I live…
Being brave also has something to do with my doing my best to be a decent human being. When so much conspires to make us cynical and to play one off against the other. And, when we are told it is okay to lift ourselves up by putting others down attitudes like kindness and compassion and honesty and respect become small acts of bravery standing up against that which would tear down and tear apart.
Be brave by being kind.
Be brave, by treating others with respect.
Be brave, by being honest.
Be brave by rejecting cynicism and holding onto hope.
Be brave by seeing what might be rather than just what is.
Today, I am thinking about what the right questions might be.
What prompted this was an article I read a month or so ago and saved so I could write about it in a parenting blog to which I am an occasional contributor. I realized the questions these parents ask their children each day are the right questions. The type of questions I need to be asking myself each day. And, not just ask myself, but be able to answer.
Where was I kind today?
Where was I brave today?
Where did I take the risk to try something new or learn something new or stretch beyond what was safe and comfortable?
To those three questions, I could add a couple more.
For what I am grateful for today?
What did I learn that was new today?
Asking these questions will help me become the type of person I long to be.
Whether focused outward.
Or, toward something you are facing or struggling with.
Let’s do our best to be a hero a little bit everyday.