This week has mostly consisted of me making myself hoarse while encouraging/chivvy-ing along/motivating my eight year old. FIT Harrogate was always meant to be a place for encouragement, advice, community and motivation - why should this stop at a place where most of us have or will struggle? - bringing up children.
When we opened FIT Harrogate I made a conscious decision to look at my girls properly every day, to be "present" when present and have some quality time with them every day. I'd like to think I've kept to it so far. They grow so fast don't they? Every day a new question, a new problem and something that makes you wish you'd kept a log book of all the funny things they've ever said:
"Daddy, do ALL old people smell of leather?"
So this weeks Worries Of An Eight Year Old are......
1) Struggling to cope with the idea of dying:
"I'm going to live until I'm 100, so that means I've only got 92 years left"
...which lead to a long-winded, but necessary, conversation about why it's important to live a full life, be the best person you can be, make every day count and why (because she likes the science-y stuff) we can't PHYSICALLY live forever. Reciting the Lion King just doesn't cut it anymore, as much as I love singing "The Circle of Life" at the top of my lungs.
2) "I'm not special", "I'm not good at anything" and "I daren't ask for help in case the boys laugh at me"
...all because of some maths test that she feels she's not doing well in. What do you do? How do we approach it? I can't shout at the maths teacher can I? It makes me want to cry because I (and probably you) know how it feels. The sheer panic. If you're lucky enough to have mountains of confidence and self belief it may not resonate but I'm guessing it will.
I realised when talking to her that I was talking to my eight year-old self. Not only that, I was saying what I feel now - that I don't want ANYONE (let alone my first born) to feel shitty about themselves, that we should just be encouraging, honest and - above all - be bloody nice humans. I always come back to the things I wish someone had said to me at various points in my life; things that might have made me a nicer teenager (sorry Mum); things that even as adults we still need to say to ourselves and mostly don't.
"You ARE good enough"
"Don't compare yourself to others"
"Believe in yourself"
"JUST HAVE FUN"
"Be nice to yourself"
"You can, you can, you can"
So, what do YOU think? What would YOU say? What would YOU do? We'd love to hear your thoughts......