Many of you probably saw my recent introduction of Tyler's Trailer. It's been so awesome to be able to haul more stuff - without loading and unloading at home - and it's been completely necessary when I've had such great attendance at Pop-Up Play days! But, to be totally honest, I was terrified of learning to drive with a trailer behind me, to hook it up, and even more challenging, to back up my trailer!
So my wonderful husband, who happens to be a pro at backing up trailers, took me to an empty parking lot to practice. It went better than expected, but I still wasn't confident with this new skill. The first few times I drove the trailer, I parked it in the street at home, or pulled it in forwards until Brian could back it into the driveway for me. Until one day... he didn't. He helped me, but mostly just by being an extra set of eyes. The next time I came home with my trailer, I backed it in all by myself! And I couldn't stop smiling! I was so proud, I even took a picture:
I found myself thinking about this later, asking myself about the last time I had this feeling of conquering a new skill! It's not something we allow ourselves very often as adults, partially because our lives just don't lend themselves to this kind of learning as much, but also because we find it scary to try new things!
I also found myself comparing this to our kids' lives and the new skills they learn. If my husband had continued to just do it for me, I would have never learned, AND I would have missed out on that amazing feeling of pride and accomplishment! Sure, I can get by in life without knowing how to back up a trailer, but I wouldn't have gained the confidence of independence. Okay, I think you can tell where I'm going with this, right? We have to let our children try. We have to let our children fail. We can support them along the way - physically or emotionally - when they need it, but eventually they have to do it themselves in order to learn. We have to let our children gain independence AND the sense of accomplishment and confidence after they work hard for a goal!
The good news? Children do this naturally when they play! It's healthy and normal for them to push their boundaries, try new things, and stretch their limits. When they are allowed to do this and accomplish new things, they gain confidence and resilience that will last throughout their life! What a gift!