Because I’m an INTJ– a fixer-upper who’s always game to look at new ways to improve life— I’m always watching other folks parent, wondering if bits and pieces of what they do might help me be a better mom to my own kids. I think that’s one of my strengths as a mom– my willingness to think about what could work better, and my longing to always be a better mom.
My self-analysis doesn’t stop at seeing my strengths– I’m also very aware of (at least some of) my weaknesses. I’m not especially touchy-feely. I usually reside in the land of logic, and don’t always relate patiently to a child awash in emotion. I’m consciously working to relate better to kids in the throes of right-brain emotion– trying to first acknowledge feelings and not immediately jump in with logical solutions. I’m also trying to get better at affirmation and praise. I do praise, and I never do so lightly: if I say you’re good at something, I really truly think you are good at it. But I’ve realized I need to get better at noticing qualities that aren’t naturally high on my radar, instead of always trying to hone the strengths I admire most.
My cousin and I were talking about that at camp a few weekends ago– how it is so easy to recognize the strengths that we’re biased towards, whether that be a studious nature, or work ethic, or musical interest, or whatever. But inherent in that bias can be a lack of appreciation for all sorts of other great qualities. Maybe a child has a tremendously creative brain, or great people skills, or a quirky sense of humor, or an interest in a subject that we’ve never much thought about before. We need to learn to admire kids for who they are.
A new Disney movie called Planes touches (lightly) on some of these parenting dilemmas. It tells the story of a little plane named Dusty who needed his friends to encourage him and help him learn how to soar. The folks at Disney asked me to think about the movie in relation to my own parenting style, and see if I could draw any parallels.
I definitely have a bit of Dottie in me. Dottie is a realist who encourages Dusty to see life as it really is. She doesn’t want Dusty to be discouraged by going for a dream that is out of his reach, and so she tries to speak truth into his life.
But I also see a bit of Chug in me. Since Chug has dreams of his own to pursue, he understands the value of cheerleaders and encouragers. So it’s natural for him to support Dusty in following his own big dreams. That’s something I’ve always tried to do for my kids.
We’re big Cars fans at our house, and we’re looking forward to this new addition to the Cars Legacy. To celebrate the pending release of this movie, I’m giving away a $100 Fandango gift card.
For the chance to win, leave a comment below answering the question, “How do you challenge your children to follow their dreams?” (And yes, my comments are fixed!)
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