Monday, August 22, 2005

Building self esteem at the park.

L was jumping from apparatus to apparatus at the park. She was zipping around on a huge wheel that was suspended in the air. Her feet scraped against the ground and she began screaming:
"Daddy help!!!"
I knew she was not in pain and that this was some sort of game. I bristled at the loud noise and prepared for another shout.
"What is it love?" I asked.
"My feet hit the ground! I don't want my feet to touch the ground! Help Me!" L half whined and half screached.
The pitch sent shivers down my spine, but I took a deep breath and tried to help.
"L, I will be glad to help, but let me get into the game. Please do not yell at me. I do not yell at you."
"Alright, daddy."
She got back up on a balance beam and began to tip towards me. I extended a hand that she could grab if she needed it. She chose to take it, and smiled. She was grateful to have her game continue.
She jumped up on the monkey bars and then up and over them. She slid across the zip wire and landed on a platform. She jumped for the wheel again and spun almost entirely around. The tip of her toe was almost touching the platform when she started drifting slightly back.
I nudged the wheel and gave L just enough momentum to make it back to the platform. She looked back at me and smiled a huge smile. The next time she made it through the whole obstacle course without touching the ground with no help from daddy. We gave each other a huge hug.

I could have snapped at L or ignored her requests for help. It would have been easy the way that she asked for it. I was thankful that I was able to breathe deeply and get through to a deeply rewarding experience for both of us. That is much better than an argument.

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