“Other kids say I’m not a good artist,” my exhausted and melting 5-year-old lamented after I’d praised the self-portrait she’d drawn at school.
She had been an emotional disaster since lunchtime, so I knew this upset was going to feel larger to her than usual. She was feeling raw, tired, and completely incapable of handling life.
As much as I was over her pendulum swings, I knew I needed to dig deep past the frustration and nurture. There in the kitchen, I crouched down, opened my arms, and asked if she needed a hug. She tearfully nodded and walked over. I sat cross-legged on the tile floor and she folded herself into my lap.
“I’m sorry the other kids hurt your feelings. I think you’re a great artist.” She smiled and sniffled. “It’s important to know, though, that for all of your life there will be people who are better than you, worse than you, and equally as good as you at all kinds of things. And that’s ok. Just because someone else is a great artist, it doesn’t mean you’re not good too. We all have different gifts. Some people are good at math, some are good at art, some are good at running, some are good at getting their heads stuck in holes.”
“I like running!” She said excitedly. “Good,” I said, “and your brother likes sticking his head in holes. You both have things you like doing.” We both giggled.
“You can be good at lots of things,” I told her, “but you won’t be good at them all, and that’s ok. I still think you’re a good artist though.” We hugged then off she went. Repaired for the moment.
Life lessons at 5-years old. Puberty should be fun.