The Most Important Skill

parents high five child

Go ahead. Wave your magic wand. As a parent, you have the opportunity.

What IS the most important skill you want your child to obtain?

Why?

As I trek down the path of parenthood, I often look at my little girl and ponder this question.

I know the answer.

If you've been reading this blog a bit (thank you!), this may sound familiar. Yes, I have been down this road before.

But, it's been awhile and it's time for a return trip. It is so important, it is worth another visit.

When I first brought my baby home, I rejoiced in the fact that she was eating and sleeping (okay, sleeping a little).

As my little one grew, so did her personality and my dreams for the little person she was becoming. It was then that I began to think about what trait/skill/characteristic would be of most value to her as she grew into a young lady. Most experts agree, there's quite a mix of genetics and environmental influences that make us each who we are/who we become.

What is the most important characteristic you want your child to have?

For me, it's the ability to “bounce back,” to get up and keep going, to be resilient.

Resiliency.

What makes a child resilient? Can you make a child resilient?

Let's face it, life gives us all a beating once in awhile (of course, I don't mean this literally). At times, we all have bumps in the road.

In our household, I started thinking about this skill as soon as I saw the munchkin developing skill sets of her own: the first time she tried to pull up (and fell down), those few drunken (tumbling) steps, the first time she skinned her nose after running down the hill. “Are you okay?” I would ask.

Then, I moved from the question to the statement, “You ARE okay.” It was my way of encouraging her to move on.

Next up came how to tackle her frustration regarding doing things on her own. The question was (and still is) “when to intervene and when to let her work through it.”

Today, it was the full fledged meltdown over a miscommunication of what way she wanted to come home (we have two routes and, not mattering to us, we allow the munchkin to decide each day). Oops, today we chose wrong. She wanted to go back. She wanted us to do it again. It wasn't happening. It took a bit (okay, ALOT) of patience and quiet words to her, but she managed to get herself together and move on. We ended with a terrific family night playing.

Just like the first blog entry I wrote, it's all about baby steps. I hope by navigating life as we have so far, we're on our way to helping the kiddo grow into a resilient child (and person).

What skill or characteristic are you working on developing with your little one these days?

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The Most Important Skill

Jeannie Fleming-Gifford is a mama to one little lady, freelance writer, and the director of education for a non-profit community school of the arts. Graduating with a B.A. in Music and a M.A. in Child Development, Jeannie began her career in quality child development programs as a teacher, then moved into creative administrative roles with science centers, symphony orchestras and arts programs. Owner of 170+ year old house, Jeannie loves living in small town America where walks to the park and ... More

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