Although Nico loves his new preschool (it is a dream come true) he hides behind my legs every time we arrive. He suddenly gets shy + clingy, grabs onto my thighs or tries to climb my body, desperate for me to stay. Saying goodbye to him usually involves distracting him with trains or an art project, anything that will hold his attention long enough for me to slip out.
They instituted a new game called, “Push mommy out the door.” And it is magic.
When I am ready to say goodbye to Nico and leave, the teachers say, Time to push mommy out the door! and Nico runs behind me and pushes my legs forward and I exaggeratedly stumble towards the door. Then he nudges me out saying, “Bye bye mommy!”
This week I realized the pure genius of this.
We all want to be at choice in our lives. We want to know we have some control, that we get to choose (even a little bit) how our environment will be + how our days will go.
In the case of Nico going to school, it’s kind of a non-negotiable. But feeling at choice — that he is choosing that it is time for me to go– leaves him feeling empowered.
Where in our lives do we feel like the victims of our circumstance? at work? at home? How would re-framing things we have to do, consciously choosing them, help us feel good about our responsibilities and tasks?
Sometimes a tweak in the language we use is enough. Instead of saying, “I have to…” we can say, “I get to…” Or, we can simply say, “I’m choosing to… ”
For example, instead of saying, I have to go to Ben’s school this week and volunteer for the Hanukkah celebration… (I said this last week and the dread in my voice was notable!) I could say, “This Thursday I get to volunteer in Ben’s class and do some fun activities to teach his classmates about Hannukah.” or “I’m choosing to volunteer in Ben’s class this week.”
Even if it feels a bit phony at first, you will notice how differently you feel. Stepping out of our victim roles (even in these small ways) reminds us that we are always at choice in our lives, and that empowering ourselves this way can ripple out into every area of our life.
Can you think of a place in your life where you could be more at choice?