Last Sunday I took my son to see the new Disney motion picture Zootopia. When the movie started, I thought I was going to survive it without crying—darn Disney is like kryptonite to me—but the song Try Everything, by Shakira, started playing when the main character, Judy, rides the train to Zootopia with a smile and a heart full of hope.
“I won’t give up, no I won’t give in
Till I reach the end and then I’ll start again.
No I won’t leave, I wanna try everything
I wanna try even though I could fail”
Judy is a little bunny who dreamed of being a cop since she was a kid. Pursuing justice from a young age, she discovers the disadvantage of being small in the eyes of others. However, instead of quitting–as her own parents told her to—she pressed on, graduated with honors from the police academy, and moved to the big city to face even greater challenges.
While the song played, my eyes watered remembering my silly heart full of hope when I came to America. However, as adventurous as I was back then, I could have never done it without my Mom’s support. Even though her heart was breaking facing the reality that her only daughter was leaving the nest and moving overseas, she never held me back and instead, she helped me fly.
In the movie, Judy’s parents were a couple of “settlers”–as they call themselves–and instead of encouraging their daughter to go beyond the traditional life, they doubt her initiative and told her to let it go.
As a kid, I learned everything from the role model I had, my Mother. From gestures to words, behaviors, values, and even swearing–sorry Mom! Everything she said to me, made me the woman I am. Now that I am a parent, the words I say to my son, are my biggest responsibility.
Almost every day I see the power of my speech on my son’s attitudes. When I tell my little man that I am proud of him, he blushes and smiles shyly. If he misbehaves and I tell him that his actions made me very sad, he gets ashamed.
During the car ride home, I thought about the movie and told my son something my husband tells his older kids all the time, “The only person stopping you, is you.” I don’t know if he really understood the concept, but he asked me at the end, “Can I be a Transformer?” and I answered, “Of course you can.“
The real world is a wild world full of predators and enemies that will try to hinder his path. Therefore, if I tell him that I believe in him it will boost his confidence and self-esteem. However, it doesn’t mean that I am going to tell him he is The Best at something if he really isn’t or do his job for him instead of letting him fail and learn from the experience.
He is still little and needs my help for a lot of things. But, sometimes I don’t even let him try to put his shoes on–even though they are Velcro! So, instead of loving him I am sabotaging him. The same way my mother never doubted I could move to another country and find my way to success, I have to trust my son’s instincts and have faith.
That is the trick, to find the perfect balance as a parent between being supportive without creating false expectations and being indifferent so he thinks that I don’t care. All I know is that if he doesn’t fail, he will never enjoy his own victories in this wild world.
Thus far, I think I say and do the right things to be a good role model for my son. I try to eat healthy to teach him good habits—even though I eat candy and fast food behind his back–and I try not to use bad language in front of him–instead I flip people off in silence when they run me over driving. Parenting is my work in progress, and to be honest, I don’t think it is ever going to end.
Thanks for reading and sharing,
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