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Many parents try to keep their kids away from uncomfortable things. My husband and I are not like many parents. We choose to introduce our children to uncomfortable things in order to give them the tools to deal with stepping out of their comfort zones.
In this particular case, we are talking about GREMLINS. I have them. You have them. We all have them. What all of us haven’t done though, is confront them. The sooner you are able to confront them, the better.
If you haven’t read the book, “Taming Your Gremlin: A Surprisingly Simple Method for Getting Out of Your Own Way,” by Rick Carson, make it the next book on your list of must reads. Even if you aren’t into the self help genre, go out of your comfort zone and give it a shot. The general idea of the book is that each of your doubts and fears is manifested into a figurative gremlin. A gremlin that is part of your identity. Part of your existence. Part of your outlook on life. Your gremlin may even take the shape of one of your family members. But it doesn’t have to be the end all be all. Once you are able to successfully identify your gremlins and how they came to existence in your world, you are better able to get a grip on them and start to control them so that they no longer control you.
So how did we introduce our children to their gremlins? It started when my oldest was learning how to ride her bike without training wheels. Before she knew that she would fall, she gladly got on her bike when we took the training wheels off. Never having been on 2 wheels before, she fell. Her immediate response was, “I want my training wheels back on. I can’t ride my bike without them.” We asked her to try again. Same outcome. That self doubt that was loud and clear was her gremlin speaking. It wasn’t her. At 5 years old, she didn’t have much self doubt until that point. Everything was pretty easy for her. As soon as something didn’t come natural though, i.e. riding without training wheels, her gremlin was born. It was then that we chose to introduce her to her very first gremlin.
Us: “Maggie, do you hear that voice in your head saying you can’t do it without your training wheels? Do you hear the voice saying that you will fall without them?”
Us: “Do you believe it?”
Maggie: “Yes. because I will fall.”
Us: “But what if you didn’t? What if you tried over and over and didn’t fall? Wouldn’t that be fun?”
Maggie: “Yes, but I’m scared!”
Us: “The voice that you are hearing is your inner gremlin. It’s the voice that wants you to continue to be scared and not take chances. It’s the voice that will make you miss out on a lot of things in life if you always listen to it. Sometimes, it’s ok to listen to it. Sometimes the gremlin is scared for a reason. But sometimes your gremlin is scared because you are trying something new and your gremlin doesn’t like it when you get out of your comfort zone.”
Maggie: “So what do I say when I hear it talk to me?”
Us: In this instance we said, “Acknowledge it. Tell it thank you for pointing out and warning you of the danger. But tell it that you are going to overcome the fear, so it needs to be quiet.”
Because of this introduction to her gremlin at the age of 5, there have been many times she will come to my husband and I with self doubt or fear over something. One of the very first questions we ask is whether or not it is a gremlin speaking or her. Nine times out of ten, she believes it is her gremlin, a figurative being/opinion brought about from a past experience. Nine times out of ten we are able to easily work through her dilemma just by being able to pinpoint which gremlin she is dealing with. That one time though, where she feels like it is her speaking, is typically when she is facing something new and is just trying to work through it to form an experience. At this point, we have the ability to help her figure out how that particular moment will shape her future self and experiences.
Since the first introduction to our daughter’s gremlin, we have successfully been able to introduce our other children to theirs as each gremlin is born. They talk about them to each other and they tell each other ways they overcome them. One of the biggest things though, is that they have learned not to fear them. It’s when you fear them that you give them a voice loud enough to take control. It is mine and my husband’s hope that by introducing our children to theirs, they are able to navigate their lives successfully putting their gremlins on the backburner.
So if you see my kids out and about talking to themselves… I promise they aren’t crazy. They are probably talking through something with their gremlin in order to successfully come out on top!