“Mommy, I just can’t do it!” These were the words my youngest exclaimed while in the process of attempting to create a house with magnetic building tiles. It had been a couple of days that I had observed seeds of self-doubt in his behavior, which was unlike my driven and often too determined three year old.
I realized there might be an underlying dilemma. At times, my youngest tends to live in the shadow of his older brother. My boys are five years apart so naturally some things come easier to my oldest. My little guy wants to be just like his big brother. He observes big brother accomplish tasks quicker and I personally understand how comparison can be the thief of joy.
“Do you need some help?” I asked.
“No! I want to do it by myself, like Ethan does. But I just can’t get the tiles to stay up. I’m not good at this, mommy.” I could hear the disappointment in his voice as he uttered those dreaded words.
Immediately, The Carrot Seed came to my mind. This was one of my favorite books as a young girl. I remember my teacher giving it to me in 1st grade when I was having difficulty learning to read and write words in English. She consistently encouraged me to believe in my capabilities.
I sprung up to get the book.
“Josh, I have a special book that I think you will like! It helped me when I was a little girl.” I enthusiastically announced. He hopped on to my lap and we read it together.
The Carrot Seed carries a simple yet powerful message of self-confidence and patience. It is a short but classic story suited for children ages 3-6. The story is appealing to this particular age group because of the simplicity in words and pictures. However, do not let this hold you back from reading it with older children. They can benefit tremendously from the story’s message.
The book is about a young boy who planted a carrot seed. His mother, father and big brother consistently tell him that “it will not come up.” The little boy pulls up the weeds around the seed and sprinkles the ground with water day after day, even though nothing comes up. Then one day, “a carrot came up just as the little boy had known it would!”
After my little guy and I were done reading the story, I reflected back on the fact that the little boy believed that the seed would one day come up. He had confidence and never gave up despite what others said.
“Josh, YOU have to consistently believe in yourself. You can achieve anything you set your mind on. Just remember to have patience. Some things in life take time.”
“Ok, mommy! I can do this!”
He ran back to his pile of magnetic tiles and began to create. With some time and effort he created the house and even a car.
“Look mommy! I did it!
“You did an incredible job and I will always believe in you!” I declared.
As he accomplishes new things on a daily basis, I now hear these words all throughout the house, “I did it Mommy! I believed in myself just like in the Carrot Seed!”
And just like that, his heart is forever aligned to this book and the seed of self-confidence.