It’s that time of year where our social media is inundated with proud parent posts celebrating the big achievements of their offspring – photos filled with smiling kids holding trophies and certificates. I share in the happiness of my friends, congratulating those children who have worked hard to achieve their well-deserved public acclaim.
But another part of me, deep down, feels a morsel of grief
It’s not an emotion that we tend to discuss with others, perhaps for fear of being misunderstood (or is there a chance I’m the only person in the world who feels this?).
That little sad place in me thinks of one of my children – a talented, gorgeous, creative soul, who has struggled with crippling depression since primary school (a vocational hazard for creatively inclined people I feel). This has led to periods of homeschooling, to keep my daughter safe while we work together learning strategies to make these times easier.
I think of my other beautiful girl, a compassionate, oh-so-sensitive, wickedly funny lady, who wrestles with the stress and anxiety from the ups and downs of home life.
I wish I could celebrate with the world the achievements of my girls – watching the light come back in her eyes, more 9 out of 10 days than ever before, the joy of focusing on her strengths and her bravery in reaching out to meet her tribe. A year worth celebrating.
And my littlest one – despite her fears, her tears, her anxiety, she turns up to school, she laughs and makes others laugh. She is coming into her own, finding her voice and has just discovered the joy of being on the stage, under the lights, listening to the cheers of the audience. A year worth celebrating.
So, for ALL our children out there – I celebrate with you for those big and little wins:
To the child whose life has irreversibly changed this year - they play with their mates, they’re a little bit mischievous, they have kept going, despite the pain in their heart – a strength of character that deserves to be recognized and celebrated.
The child who is filled with anxiety at the thought of going to school, yet they have pushed through that fear, turned up, and learned as best they can – you are amazing! And because you continue to face your fears, things will get easier!!
The child who has worked so hard to keep up with their year group; the child who attends many therapies after school hours; the child who feels that things aren’t quite right and whose caregivers are still trying to work out their needs – you are ALL champions!
To the child who has felt lonely this year but has kept on going – one day you will find your tribe. In the meantime, keep your head up high and continue to be kind – it will pay off for you!
The child who doesn’t “stand out” academically, musically or sports-wise, yet they are the kindest, most heart-led child in the school; the includer, the connector, the sharer - these are traits that we need in this world and you will go a long way!
There are so many little wins, strengths of character and talents that our children demonstrate every day. At this time of the year, let’s start a tradition of sitting down with those children who have been gifted to us and remind them of all the things they have achieved - the big and the small.
It is in the workplace that I see the products of the messages our children have been given in their childhood and the narratives that they carry with them. Whether positive or negative, these messages have an impact throughout the years.
“You are loved, you are worthy.”