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Children Who Shine From Within

“What’s your favorite insect?” my seven-year-old daughter asked as we took an evening walk on the first night of her spring vacation. “You can’t pick butterfly. Everyone picks the butterfly,” she quickly added before I had a chance to respond.

“Hmmmm,” I thought out loud. “I guess mine would have to be a ladybug,” I finally answered.

“Mine’s a firefly. I love the firefly,” she said wistfully.

We kept walking. Talking. Enjoying the rare treat of alone time—just my younger daughter and me.

And then:

“Am I okay? I mean, am I fine?” she asked looking down at herself.  “Sometimes I feel different.”

I immediately stopped walking and searched her face. Without saying what she meant, I knew; I just knew.

I bent down and spoke from a painful memory tucked away since second grade. “When I was your age. I felt different too. I felt uncomfortable, self conscious. One boy said really cruel things about the way I looked. He said I didn’t belong. His words hurt me for a long, long time,” I admitted.

As she looked at me sadly, her previous words echoed in my head. “Everyone picks the butterfly,” she’d pointed out a moment ago.

I placed my hands on her sturdy little shoulders as if somehow this could make her feel my words right down to the bone. “I want you to know something. You can always talk to me when you feel different or uncomfortable. I will never laugh. I will never judge you or tell you it’s no big deal. I will never brush away your feelings because I understand. I remember how it hurts. And some times you just need someone to understand that hurt.”

“I love the firefly,” she had said a moment ago. I then realized I had something she could hold on to.

“You mentioned that you love the firefly,” I reminded her. “Well, I think you’re a lot like a firefly. You know why?” I asked.

The worry on her face lifted. She looked at me hopefully. “Why, Mama?”

“Because you shine from within,” I said touching my finger to her heart. “Not everybody sees it, but I do. I see it. And my job is to protect that light. So when people say mean comments that squelch that light, I want you to tell me. I will protect your light by listening and loving you, my brave, courageous, and unique little firefly.”

My daughter stepped forward and wrapped her arms around my neck.  She still said nothing—not one word. Maybe it was because she was on the verge of tears. Maybe it was because silent comfort was all she needed in that moment. I can’t be sure. But what I can be sure of is this: this story is not over.

You see, as weeks have passed, I haven’t been able to stop thinking of our firefly talk and the timing of this message. The end of the school year can be hard for kids, especially the Fireflies—those who shine from within. And it’s that time—time for awards, banquets, recognition, and applause. The Butterflies will be noticed. So brilliant. So colorful. Their talents so obvious. But let us not forget the Fireflies. Their triumphs are quiet and unsuspecting. Their gifts might even go completely unnoticed.

A firefly might be a seat saver on the bus so someone doesn’t have to go to the intimidating back row.

A firefly might be a songwriter who pens music in his nightly dreams and hums away his days.

A firefly might be an artist that creates pictures you can feel with your soul.

A firefly might save his money for years just waiting for his heart to tell him, “That’s the one who needs your help.”

A firefly might stay up past bedtime calculating numbers beneath the covers because he was born a mathematician.

A firefly might be the I.T. kid of the school who jumps at the chance to help teachers with their computer woes.

A firefly might get lost in a cloud of flour, delighting in culinary arts.

A firefly might be a horseback rider finding peace in the company of animals and nature.

A firefly might devour a 357-page book in one sitting.

A firefly might have eyes for the lonely, looking for someone who wonders if she’s invisible.

A firefly might stick up for the lost, the rejected, the alone.

A firefly might be the lost, the rejected, the alone … just waiting for someone to notice his light among all the bright, fluttering wings of the Butterflies.

Maybe you know a Firefly. Maybe you love a Firefly.

If you do, please don’t wait.  Don’t wait for someone to hand him an award or a give her a certificate to make their talents and gifts “official.” That day may never come. So say it now. Say this:

I see your light.

I see it when you pick up your guitar.

I see it when you make brushstrokes of yellow, green, and gold.

I see it when you sing with your eyes closed.

I see it when you laugh with your mouth open wide.

I see it when you stand along the water’s edge dreaming of your future.

I see your light, my brave and courageous, firefly.

You shine from within.

And regardless if anyone else sees it or not—you know it’s there, and I know it’s there.

So keep shining.

Keep singing.

Keep creating.

Keep dreaming.

Keeping caring.

Keep adding, subtracting, and multiplying.

Keep making your magic.

And just you wait. Someday the world is going to see what I see. And your light will be so beautiful, so brilliant, so bright that the world is going to stop and wonder where such a light comes from.

And you and I will both know that light, well, it’s been there all along.

Because you are a Firefly.

You shine from within.

And I am here to protect that light, my brave and courageous firefly.

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Content By: Rachael Macy Stafford – The Hands Free Revolution

To The Child Who Didn’t Win Awards: I See You

It’s a time of badges, certificates, medals, trophies, recognition, awards, prizes and ‘seeing’ of high achievement. I love seeing the kids that shine at this time of year – a big high heartfelt round of applause to you. You so deserve it for the effort you have put in.

But this message is for the kids that didn’t get called up for any of the above…

I SEE YOU.

To the child that conquered their fear of heights, or sleeping in the dark, or riding without training wheels or sleeping out for the night for the first time this year, I SEE YOU

To the child that managed to resolve more conflict than they started this year, to the child that learnt to say the impossible; “I’m sorry”, and to the child that walked away from the fighting instead of getting involved, I SEE YOU

To the child for whom school is a huge struggle, you get up everyday and you go, I SEE YOU

To the child that battled all year with the maths, or reading, or concentration, or speaking out in class, or learning their words, but persevered anyway, I SEE YOU

To the child that found the kindness in their heart reach out in anyway to another person or to an animal in need or in pain, I SEE YOU

To the child that learnt to give and to share for the first time this year and even found joy in these, I SEE YOU

To the child that battles to make friends and to be social, you made new friends this year and for that, I SEE YOU

To the child who wanted so much to please, but was just out of sight of an adult who perhaps was too busy or too distracted, I SEE YOU

To the child who lost a friend or a loved one this year, but carried on everyday bravely even though their heart ached, I SEE YOU

To the brave parents that try every day to do the best for their kids, I SEE YOU.

May you and your children revel in small but significant victories that you have both experienced this year, as I will with my beautiful children.

For every year there is progress and growth, we don’t need a podium or handshake or a hall of applause to be seen.

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Source: Colleen Wilson

Children Don’t Need A Perfect Mum. They Need A Happy One.

Last week I had coffee with a friend and she was convinced that she is failing as a mom. She said all the moms around her (or that she follows on social media) seem to have it all together but she messes up daily!

She said other moms are all perfectly put together, have perfectly dressed kids who appear to be just as perfectly behaved. She then asked what is wrong with her because some mornings she can’t even brush her hair!

And this got me thinking, how many of us feel the same way but just don’t voice it? Have you ever felt this comparison pressure? Alone in your mom guilt and too scared of judgment to admit it?

If you have ever asked the question, “what’s wrong with it me”, I’m here to tell you- ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! God chose you as the perfectly imperfect mom for your children. There is no better mom for your kids. 

Not one of us is perfect. We all mess up daily but the beauty is that we can give it our best again tomorrow. Gods mercies are new every morning  (I can’t even count how many times I’ve repeated this to myself when I go to bed with mom guilt!)

We judge, criticise and beat ourselves up about failing as a mom because we are comparing ourselves against a perfect standard we assume is there. When in fact it’s just an illusion and is incorrect. NO ONE, (I repeat) NO ONE has it together! So stop believing this lie.

What our children need is not a mom striving to be perfect in everything. What they need is a mom who is happy. A mom full of joy because she knows that God believes she is enough for her children. The Master of the universe knows that you have the skills & abilities to raise your little people better than anyone else! Now isn’t that a glorious truth!

So even if your floors are sticky, your laundry pile is sky high, your hair is in a permanent messy bun and your last meal was your kids unfinished food…. Smile. You are enough for your kids gorgeous mama. Your love, laughter and joyous smile is all they need. Stop comparing. Stop the guilt and walk confidently into the title the role God has given you.

Content and Image Source: Written by Juggling The J’s – on Facebook