Every day when I drop off my kids at school, I stop at a crosswalk and a guard assists kids across the street. And most days, to my joy, I get to see a 4th grader named Max cross the street by himself.
He high fives the crossing guard, and some days he even gives her a big hug, right there in the middle of the street.
Max has Down Syndrome and he was in my oldest daughter’s class when she was in Kindergarten. I don’t know his parents well, but I have met them, and I appreciate watching them interact with Max in the morning.
Dad gives Max a kiss and hug before Max ventures off to the crosswalk. Dad watches until Max is safely in school, and if Max turns around, Dad always smiles and waves, and even more important, he exudes a confidence, an inner knowing that I’m sure Max picks up on.
Of course I would never assume to know what either of them is thinking, but as I watch, the word that I feel is trust.
The whole process of Max getting to school exudes trust – I trust who you are, I trust in what you can do, and you can trust that I will always be here if you need me.
It reminds me how important it is to reflect this to my own children. Instead of carrying anxiety about what my kids can or can’t do or what they will or won’t do, I would much rather stand back, watch, love, trust.
I once heard life coach Martha Beck say, “If you are scared, then you are scary. If you are calm, then you are calming.” I don’t want to be scary. I don’t want to contribute to whatever fear or anxiety my girls may already carry. I want to be a supportive daily presence, a calm center in their busy and sometimes hectic lives.
I’m human and emotional so I won’t do this perfectly. But it’s an important awareness for me, an important self observation. I want my children to live their own lives and trust they can handle whatever comes their way, and this is a lot easier if they know I trust and believe in what they can do.