This picture has been floating around the internet the last couple of weeks, and I think it deserves another little bit of spotlight. In my time as a counselor I’ve heard a lot of parents express a lot of anxiety about their children. But it’s amazing – they don’t say “I’m anxious” or “I’m afraid.” They start with “my kid won’t–” or “my kid doesn’t–” and it’s anger and frustration that are the surface emotions.
Imagine this picture happening with a parent who hasn’t figured out their fears or anxieties. You have a kid who feels like a superhero. They want to express that. Or maybe nothing that deep – maybe they just like how it feels to have the fabric ruffling in the wind behind them. But instead of you embracing that and partnering with them in their happiness – you say no. You impose YOUR anxieties and YOUR fears onto them. Now we have complications in your relationship. We have resentment, on both sides. Your kid is resentful and maybe can’t articulate it. They might feel shamed, confused. You are resentful at your kid for “making” you feel this way, and now you have the curdled feeling of guilt along with it. No capes. No grocery store. No connection
So that’s why I love this picture so much. Because not only was it a “yes” moment – yes to wearing what you want, yes to feeling how you want to feel, yes to expression, yes to fun, yes to partnership, yes to not wielding the heavy hand of authority over a child – this dad went one further and joined in.