***Disclaimer: This blog is written by a mother, wife, daughter, sister, friend etc. who also happens to be a licensed clinician. It is not a substitute for seeking professional advice from your own therapist. Advice from this blog does not equate informed consent and does not establish a therapeutic relationship with the writer***
This is my daughter. She will be 8 years old this weekend. This is a picture of her sitting at the end of our driveway selling lemonade. She made the lemonade (yes, by herself) and made a sign that said “Pink Lemonade for $5”. I said, “$5??? I’m not sure who is going to buy that for $5!! To which she replied, “Well, that’s what I’m selling it for!” And walked away. We live on a fairly busy street, but still in a rural area nonetheless so I didn’t anticipate that anyone would stop.
She made $30 yesterday. From four random strangers who not only paid the $5, but also gave her a tip.
My almost 8 year old taught me/reminded me of several lessons.
- Don’t let anyone (unfortunately this can include family members) tell you that your goals are unreasonable.
- Don’t set the bar, or your price, lower just because someone else thinks it’s too high.
- As a parent, you need to constantly evaluate and correct your own insecurities in order to not project those feelings of inadequacy onto your children.
You see, at her age I would have never followed through with an idea like that. I might have thought of it, but then convinced myself that no one would buy my lemonade. Or convinced myself that even if they did buy it, they wouldn’t like it. I almost allowed my own anxieties to prevent her from going after what she wanted.
I often speak to my clients about being the cycle breaker. It’s a difficult role to play. Because on the one hand, you were raised within certain dysfunctions that in a lot of ways, are all you know. And then on the other hand, you are aware of how dysfunctional it is/was and then therefore have the responsibility to fix it. Sometimes without the tools to do so. The cycle breaker can be in a constant state of heightened awareness of these dysfunctions, which may cause one to second guess every thought or decision particularly when it comes to parenting. This is a blessing and a curse.
So what seemed like an insignificant event on a random Sunday in April, was really much more than that. Because on that day, my daughter learned that she can accomplish her goals. She learned that she can have an idea and follow it through to the end. And I was reminded that my daughter is her own person, and the limits I placed on myself don’t need to be placed on her.
Lucky for her, and for me, she didn’t care about my negative inner (and outer) dialogue. And little does she know that her stubborn, assertive, determined, autonomous self is the result of the hard work that goes into breaking cycles.