This first draft of this post was written the fall before all the covid-madness happened and for whatever reason, I never hit the publish button. Stumbled upon it over the weekend and decided it needed a place on the blog. Would love to know what you think in the comments!
The more comfortable we get in this world of technology, instant gratification, an abundance of comfort, and on demand entertainment, I am finding it more and more important to foster bravery in our kids. Like most things we value in life, bravery is a muscle and the more we exercise it the easier it’ll be to use when we need it. After all, without bravery, all the other character traits we try to instill in our kids will only matter when the circumstances are easy. What happens when they’re met with resistance or peer pressure? It requires bravery to pursue your dreams, to speak truth, to stand up against the crowd, and to follow your faith. It takes bravery to do hard things, good things, kind things, and worthwhile things. To the contrary, it’s the path of least resistance that leads to mediocrity and comfort that keeps us from our potential.
Last week, we decided to give Tilly an opportunity to practice bravery skills when we took her to a horse riding lesson. She had been asking about doing it not stop over the last several months but every time we asked about signing her up, she would act nervous and say no. Finally we had had enough of the back and forth and went ahead and scheduled one without her approval and I’m so glad we did. It was amazing to watch her lean into her fear, one small step at a time. First with getting to know her horse, then with listening to her instructor, and finally with climbing on and going for a little trot around the corral, which eventually lead to a full on gallop. I’ve been thinking about her experience ever since and thought I’d share a few tips, tricks, and encouragement for developing bravery in our kids. They’re below if you want to check them out!
6 TIPS FOR RAISING BRAVE KIDS
- Teach them habits of prayer, gratitude, and being present. Prayer keeps us connected to Jesus and his wisdom. Gratitude influences our perspective for the better. Staying in the moment keeps us from being anxious about the future, or depressed about the past.
- Break it down into smaller steps. Bravery is about actions, not feelings, so being able to take something that is big and intimidating and break it into actionable steps or in terms of minutes, days, or weeks will make a huge difference. This is where countdown chains or visual trackers of progress help a ton.
- Talk about their WHY, because it’s always bigger than their WHAT IF’S. Help them define their WHY and the benefits of doing the hard/scary thing. So often when we think about an intimidating situation we think on the negative, so switch the script!
- Give them a safe place to fail so they can focus on the challenge instead of the outcome. I also try to remind my kids that the opinion that matters most is God’s, not the worlds so as long as they’re following their heart and gut, they have nothing to lose!
- Teach them how to recognize their feelings and give them the tools to support themselves. This is one of the reasons why we love oils for emotional support. Prayer, breathing practices, and affirmations are also amazing tools to help with big feelings.
- Talk about people in history, the Bible, and in everyday life that have done something brave. And don’t forget to remind them of times when they were brave, too!
- BONUS, and probably the most important… LEAD BY EXAMPLE!
Had to dress for the occasion! Ha! Channeling my inner Beth Dutton from Yellowstone.
Any thoughts on raising brave kids? Any other parenting topics you’d want to discuss in this space?