Grace. What does that word mean to you?
For me, grace is not just an adjective, or a noun. Grace is a verb. Grace is messy. Grace is that thing that I tap into when I need to tackle a challenge or something I am afraid of. Presenting in front of a new audience, standing at a social event to promote my work, having to say no to someone when I know that it will disappoint them, but knowing it is what is best for me/my business/my family. Grace is that thing that holds me together at times. That space to breathe. That gentle reminder of my own strength.
Grace is also something to recognize in someone else. Not to put them up on a pedestal, but to recognize that they are working through their stuff also. They are in the arena, they are showing up. I can hear Brene Brown speaking about daring greatly and referring to Roosevelt's words:
"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly, who errs, who comes up short again and again; because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms; the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the high triumph of achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails; at least fails while daring greatly" - Theodore Roosevelt
How do you show grace to your children? To your partner? How do you show your child how to show up and be in the arena? To face their fears and block out the opinions and voices of others? To live their truth. To make mistakes. To give others the space to do the same.
This might sound like something that isn't possible or important with children (especially young children). I believe that emotional health and is just as important for children as all of the "academic" subjects. Our children absorb everything in their environment, from our little idiosyncrasies to the way that we put ourselves down or the way that we interact with other people. Do we practice grace with our child when they don't measure up in our eyes? Do we practice grace with our partner when they do the same thing you have asked them not to do, for the tenth time?
Grace is hard work. It is not all flowery and pretty, like the image above suggests. But grace is beautiful. Grace in action is something to behold. When I think of grace, so many images come to my mind... the parent with the sick child at 3 am, the nurse in the hospital room listening to someone's life story, the teacher working with a child whose needs she is trying to meet, the adult child helping take care of their parent; the crossing guards all across our country who stand out in all types of weather to protect our children, the armed forces who protect us at home and abroad, the emergency service providers, the people who actually pull over when the ambulance or fire truck approaches...
I encourage you-- start looking for grace each and every day. It is there. It is something you can practice and talk about with your children and as a family.
Beth is a mom first and foremost. She is also a trained Montessori teacher who is passionate about making the lofty ideals of the Montessori philosophy more real and manageable for families.