Is there something challenging on your agenda today? Perhaps a difficult task or conversation? It will help if you can take a minute and remember some of the hard things you have accomplished and remind yourself that you can do and have done hard things.
In today’s world, parents often swoop in and rescue their children rather than letting that child struggle. These helicopter parents might actually be preventing their kids from growing stronger. Barbara Kingsolver credits the Montessori preschool she sent her children to with teaching her that struggle, failure, and persistence is ultimately what teaches a child that he can indeed do hard things.
Kids learn self-esteem from mastering difficult tasks. It’s as simple as that. The Montessori teachers told me to put my two-year-old on a stool and give her the bread, give her the peanut butter, give her the knife — a blunt knife — and let her make that sandwich and get peanut butter all over the place, because when she’s done, she’ll feel like a million bucks. I thought that was brilliant. Raising children became mostly a matter of enabling them and standing back and watching. When a task was difficult, that’s when I would tell them, “You can do hard things.” Both of them have told me they still say to themselves, “I can do hard things.” It helps them feel good about who they are, not just after they’ve finished, but while they’re engaged in the process.
Tell yourself again and again, if necessary: You can do hard things! (And then go out and do them!!)