The choice was before me.
Let my child be herself or stifle her personality.
What do I do?
This is a choice that is before me more often than not. God gave me two unique children with a LOT of personalities.
But I asked for it. In fact, I prayed for it.
When we were pregnant with Cassidy, I prayed that we would have a child with personality. Sure I prayed for her health too, but I wanted a kid with personality.
Have you ever met a boring kid?
Be honest, you have.
Well, I have met many of them over the years working in day cares and schools. I knew I wanted a kid with personality and boy did God listen.
I got not one, but two, BIG personalities with my daughters and I love everything about it – most of the time.
Many Sunday mornings I take the girls to church myself because Brian is sleeping after working the night before.
It’s usually quite an adventure as sitting quietly for an hour is not in Amelia’s wheelhouse.
Recently Amelia has decided she wants to join in the song portion of the mass.
When Cassidy was her age, she too decided it was time to sing. Since she couldn’t read the words, Cassidy would just sing “La, la, la” when everyone sang the songs. No big deal, never too loud, but cute to those who sat near us and could hear.
Well Amelia, in true Amelia fashion, decided she was going to be heard. God gave her a voice, and clearly, he wanted everyone to hear it.
Can’t read and don’t know the words for the song yet?
Just sing your own song.
Now let me paint a picture for you of our church in case you’re not familiar with a Catholic mass.
Mass is more conservative than a lot of services in other churches. There are definite times to sing, speak, kneel, sit and stand. There is a time for the congregation to sing and a time for the cantor to sing.
None of these things matter in Amelia’s world.
Amelia debuted her new song a few weeks ago in church. She was a quiet singer at first, but now that she is confident with her song she belts it out.
Her song, “I love my Daddy. My Daddy is the best. I love my Daddy. He is so great.” This is the song, and she just repeats it until the piano stops playing. If she is mid refrain and the piano stops, she of course finishes.
Two weeks ago it got so loud that everyone turned to look at us. I asked Amelia to quiet down, and she turned and looked at me and said,
“No Mommy. I’m singing. I can sing too.”
Huh, how do you argue with that?
Of course, Amelia also doesn’t understand (or perhaps care) that sometimes the song has rests. This is when the congregation can hear her words because she continues to sing while everyone else is not.
That day I was presented with a choice.
Do I make my child be quiet? Do I tell her she can’t sing because it’s the wrong words? Should I make her conform to adult expectations or do I embrace who she is and just smile.
I chose to smile.
I chose to soak in the innocence of a child.
I chose to love my free spirit.
I told her how great her singing was.
And you know what, I’m betting
God loved that singing more than any other that day in that church.
I know it put a smile on many other faces in a church that day.
Yes, there is a time and place that children must conform and meet expectations. But I’m betting it’s far less often than we and society make them.
Choose to let your child be themselves more often than not.
Choose to be yourself more often than not.
Smile and sing whatever song is in your heart, even if It’s not what is expected of you.
***Update, this past week at church while Brian was in attendance with us, a new verse debuted in her song. It was only added one of the times it was sung. The new verse was, “I love my Mommy.” This mom was pretty excited for the new verse, finally a little love came my way.
Other articles of amazing lessons my kids have taught me:
Bravery: A Lesson Learned From My Daughter
What Your Child Really Wants
For the Kids or Is It?
Think Before you Post: What You Say About Your Children Online Matters
First Day of School Joy or Anxiety?