Setting an example

I am frequently proud of my children. They are amazing people. I love them for their individuality, their quirks and diversity, their ability to be whoever they want to be. I’m proud to know them, to love them and to be associated with them. In the last 24 hours I have watched them both demonstrate kindness, thoughtfulness, maturity and many other traits which I can be proud of having influenced and guided them in. I’ve watched them deal with younger and older people, animals, strangers, family and friends and conduct themselves in ways of which I – and above all they – can be proud of. I actually had two seperate compliments just this afternoon about them both from tourists to the island which always serves to have me glowing with parental pride and reaffirm that I am doing this parenting malarky just fine.

But are they proud of me? In the same way that I can only take a limited amount of actual credit for who they are, the choices they make and the direction they choose it is interesting to ponder on how they view me. Whether I am an embarrassment or source of pride, someone they are happy to be attached, associated with and influenced by or would rather they could claim to not actually know at all.

Children have an innate faith and trust in their parents and even the most fallible of us have to go a really long way to shake their love and confidence in them. Until they are teenagers of course at which point allegedly it all heads in the opposite direction. I’ll let you know in a couple of months when I get my first teenager whether that generalisation is deserved ;).

I know I have often recounted this story in real life but I am not sure if I have shared it before on this blog. If I have, or indeed if you know me in real life and have already heard it I apologise but it serves as an excellent example of where I am going with this post. On the day that we left Rum after our interview to get the croft it was a windy, wet and bleak February afternoon. We had been told we were successful in our application for Croft 3 and had two weeks WWOOFing planned on Eigg to catch up with friends there, spend more time on an island, learn more about our new lives and feed and board us while we waited for a crofting course I was booked in to attend in Inverness. In my usual manner I had everything organised, planned and sewn up with everyone knowing what was happening next, expected of them and the direction in which to go. We stepped on board the ferry and were told that due to the weather we would not be going to Eigg after all but straight back to the mainland.

We had a split second decision to make – get on the ferry and go back to the mainland or stay on Rum. We were broke; the whole point of WWOOFing on Eigg was because we had no money to get all the way back to Sussex only to return to Scotland again ten days later. Willow the campervan was in retirement, we were driving my old people carrier which would not have been suitable to live and sleep in for that long. Everyone looked to me so I led us on board the ferry. We sat down as the ferry moved away from Rum and Star asked me “So, whats the plan?” to which I replied quite truthfully “I don’t have a plan.”

“What do you mean you don’t have a plan? You ALWAYS have a plan!” she said aghast.

My response was that by the time we arrived at the mainland I would have a plan. And I did. I made some phonecalls as soon as we got phone signal and by the time we got off the ferry at the other end I had sorted out somewhere to sleep that night and somewhere to stay for the ten days until the course started. Star’s faith in me proved founded, quite possibly more so because she had it and that galavnised me to rise to her expectations.

Today I read a quote that said:

If you ever feel like giving up just remember that there’s a little girl watching who wants to be just like you… do not disappoint her.

And I reminded me anew of the responsibility we bear as parents, as grown ups to the children around us. We are role models, life icons, looked up to, imitated and idolised, identified with and offer inspiration, guidance and set the standard.

If my kids are up to the challenge of making me proud them I’m up for having a really good go at doing the same for them. I want to exhibit fight, determination, grit and gumption. Determination to succeed, ability to turn dreams into reality, face adversity and come out on top.

As a mother I have big hopes for that little girl (and of course my little boy too) it seems only fair that they place similar expectation on me and that I strive as hard as they do to live up to them.

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