This week I dared some of my college students to push beyond their “no” voice and create their first resume, do a mock interview, write their first cover letter, apply for their first internship.
These can all be “scary” firsts. They’ve shared their fears with me:
“What if I don’t get it?” “What if I’m rejected?” “We’re in a pandemic. Why try?”
And I tell them my story of not wanting to try anything new and going on a journey of firsts. I can see on their faces on zoom, this is a revelation.
They see me as a “professor”, as an Emmy winning reporter, and author. It can be hard for them to imagine I was ever stuck or afraid and still having to silence my “no” voice; in the same way it might be hard for your kids to imagine you stuck, or not knowing what to do.
So my students open with laugher when I tell them I learned to hula hoop, ate a scorpion, and learned to “tweet”.
I share all the ways I have to dare myself today and all I would have missed out on if I had not said yes to “do the new”.
I can see something light up in them and I know they’ll consider this. They’ll try something and I’ll encourage them to report back.
Our children model us.
Our kids are more likely to try new things if we try new things.
God knows children, of all ages, are challenged everyday with everything that is turning all of our lives upside down. Much of what they looked forward to: birthdays, school, social activities, sports, is gone for now and, of course, some days they are sad or angry.
But, perhaps there is an opportunity now to build resilience and confidence and a sense of optimism.
Play through a “do the new” lens.
Recently, a woman wrote to tell me she shared my book with her pre teen granddaughter struggling with all the losses of the pandemic. As a result, she told me her granddaughter got excited about the idea of doing first time experiences and now they are making lists, doing new challenges, and “firsts” together; keeping track of their journey and experiences. They’ve turned it into a game.
We are living in some of the darkest times in this country and there are plenty of serious issues we need to deal with every day. Still, our children need us to show them how to not just survive, but to thrive, adapt, evolve, play, and find joy in our days as much as we can.
What if one of the questions at the dinner table was “How did you ‘do the new’ today? What new thing did you try or experience?”
What if you shared the new thing you did too? What if we rewarded and honored all the “do the new” attempts even if they didn’t go so well?
It’s something to talk about and in fact, I’d love for you to join me on Thursday, February 25th for a virtual meet the author book discussion of I Dare Me to benefit the Ronald McDonald House in Philadelphia. All proceeds go to help support families with seriously ill children in area hospitals.
Bring your kids too! Register here https://www.philarmh.org/lu-ann-cahn/
I dare you and hope I’ll see you there!