by Gabrielle Ostroski, Director, Camp Matollionequay

“How can I write a blog when I’m not a writer?” I ask myself.  “Who wants to hear what I have to say?”  Sometimes we convince ourselves that we are not good enough.  Which got me thinking …  “Maybe I am a writer. I do have a message to share.”  I have been pondering a lot lately about the things we choose to tell ourselves.

Not too long ago, before the summer, my daughter was tasked with learning to tie her shoe laces for school. She had been avoiding this for a while now because she had already told herself that she couldn’t do it.  Since this was a homework assignment and at the request of her teacher, she finally decided that she would give it a go. It was 8:30 pm, already half an hour past her bed time. She was tired. I was tired. But this was the moment. We sat on her bed as I attempted to show her one way of tying her shoe. Immediately, I could feel the tense energy that came over her, of not being able to do it on the first go, or second or many times after that. I showed her another way, but that didn’t work either. She tried and tried while I kept taking deep breaths reminding myself to remain calm. It came to a point where I suggested that we should call it a night and try again tomorrow. In her mind, that was not an option. At that moment, she turned to me and said, “Mama, I’m really frustrated right now.”  I thanked her for sharing her feelings with me and asked her to tell me more about it. So we sat together for a few minutes while she shared her feelings. I let her know that it’s ok to be frustrated and in that moment she had a decision to make. We could either call it a night, be proud of the effort that was put forth, recognize that taking a break and trying again tomorrow might be best, or we could keep going but that she was going to have to change her mindset. She had to take ownership of her thoughts from “I can’t do this! This is too hard!” to “I can do this.  I’m going to keep trying. I’ve got this.”

She chose to keep going. On the third try, she mastered the skill of tying her shoe lace. She screamed with excitement! She was so incredibly proud of herself and I was too. “We can do the hard stuff” I told her, “Sometimes we just have to stop, take a deep breath, call fear out and continue with love, especially love for ourselves” I haven’t tied another shoelace since.

I think about that moment often and how our thoughts and mindset impact the decisions we make. At any given moment you have the power to change your thoughts. Sometimes we forget we have that power. When we are out of alignment, it’s important to pause and process what’s making us frustrated, or angry or sad or whatever it is that we may be feeling.  Take that time. Honor those feelings so you can get back to a place of joy. It’s also important to provide opportunities for our children to help them understand what they are feeling. Sometimes it’s ok not to be ok. But it’s what we do from there that helps us to move forward.  The choice is ours.

Thanks for reading.

Be brave. Lead with love. You are enough.