Sunday, March 1, 2015

What is your box?

“Freedom” by Zenos Frudakis

We're at the end of our February rule and I have to admit that this rule has been a challenge for the kids to take hold of and make their own.

They get the overall idea of "Yes, you can break it", making your own path and embracing choices that exist outside the norm but I don't think they feel compelled or rather inspired to take this rule and run with it.

A complacent bunch, perhaps.

Maybe it's the lull of a long, snowy winter with one too many cold days? Or maybe it's the news of a baby on the way, that's got them (and us) holding on a little tighter to the ho-hum of days?

Doesn't everyone like to hideaway, now and again - the comfort, the ease, the control - so what's the problem?

Well, we may not have done much in the way of "breaking" this month, but I did come to see how we build our little hideaways.

One box at a time.  

Recently, my nine year old daughter had plans to get her ears pierced. Really, she's had plans to get her ears pierced for years now. The trouble is that she can't get passed her fear about the pain. We talk, I joke, I cajole, I bribe - nothing - so it gets pushed off another week which turns into another month, another season, another year.

But this time, I really thought she was going to "just do it".

She was so determined in the morning, but then at the last hour, she broke down in tears. We've been here before but this time, she really surprised me with her words. 

"Mom, I don't think I should get my ears pierced. I'm a tomboy. I don't think tomboys pierce their ears. Maybe, it's just not me."

My daughter, prides herself on being a "tomboy". She loves the title and takes no offense when someone calls her one. She still has a pink side, too, but the tomboy label, she wears it like a badge of honor, but not today.

Granted, I think her fear was making excuses and reaching for anything to hold on to but her reaction got me thinking about our February rule in a different light. Yes, you can break it, you can break anything but what about fear? Does it ever really go away?

This was a small moment, a small fear but it wouldn't be the last. How many more moments like it would follow? And what would the chain reaction be? 

When our fears get the best of us, do we get smaller or is it the box that grows?

In the end, she's not alone. Everyone has to learn to deal with their fears, big and small. It's a learning curve, it takes time, but looking at my daughter that day, it was hard not to see myself. I saw my fears and damn, I saw my box.

But that's it, that's the point, because, we all have to see the box before we can strive to break free.

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