"Mama, can you help me?"
I looked down to see the Bug with one leg in her pants, the other pant leg dangling woefully behind her.
"Sure Bug, in a second, after I finish this. But while I do, why don't you sit down and try to put the other leg on yourself?"
She dutifully sat and tried it out. As she got closer and closer I could see and feel the momentum gathering. And when she finally did it she looked up at me with a touch of surprise but a ton of pride. A huge smile came over her face as I told her how proud of her I was.
It was a great way to start the day – it's all I want to do as a parent – to raise capable, resilient children that can conquer this tricky, sometimes painful but ultimately beautiful world.
It's something that's been weighing on my mind a lot lately – how does one do that in today's modern age?
I came across this great little article that suggests these 7 C's of resilience:
Seems like a really helpful model and I love each of these values. And in the most part, they're values that J and I can teach, model and coach in the home.
But there was one that jumped out – Connection. This is the one that I think about the most because it's one that personally struggle with the most, given our somewhat nomadic lifestyle.
Community, villages, connection… they're not what they used to be when you grew up in the same neighborhood, parented by many, watched over by all. Now the burden and the joys rest firmly and almost solely on the shoulders of the parents.
So many people talk about the issue in terms of how hard it is for parents to be able to juggle everything. And it is. Hard.
But what's captured my interest and my concern is the implications for the kids.
As it turns out, there is a ton of research that suggests that the more social connections kids grow up with, whether through relations or just community, the more resilient they grow up to be.
And that totally stands to reason for me. The concept of village is a wonderfully intricate safety net, woven of relationships between generations and ages. When I see the Bug and the Peanut with my parents or with our like-family neighbors in Seattle, I see it in practice before me.
It's what I loved growing up within a close Indian community. Sure we weren't related but I always felt like I belonged. Like in the vast ocean there were other little boats around the one that held my parents, my brothers and I. That in a storm we could toss ropes to each other and brace each other through the turmoil.
I loved that we were starting to build that in our wonderful neighborhood in Seattle. And I'm so excited to rebuild that in Vancouver, now with the added bonus of having family close by.
Because above all, I want the Bug and Peanut to be capable, resilient forces to contend with. It starts with a bit of trying and failing and trying again, on the daily little things. But to fail and fall, we need to know we'll be caught and comforted.
Which begins and ends with community. With connection. For all of our kids.
So if you see us at the playground next time, I would love for you to be someone the Bug knows will catch her if she stumbles or will comfort her if she falls.
And I promise to do the same for yours.