Teaching my daughter

Continuing my occasional series on the joys of writing, I continually find myself returned to one reason – teaching my daughter – that may often seem intangible, yet has a ripple effect that I may not often notice, but which is definitely happening.

I write to demonstrate the value of persistence, both to myself – I can’t count the times I’ve wanted to chuck it all aside and run away – and to my daughter. She will not really listen if I say to her, ‘Persist with your reading, it is worthwhile!’ but she will notice when I am reading, happy, or writing contentedly.

It is up to me, mostly, to set a good example every day, and to demonstrate that small acts to follow up decisions, do bring results. That is an ongoing demonstration of how we achieve ‘success’ – whatever that might mean for us.

I have to teach her that women, particularly, can and do succeed by working doggedly at something which inspires them. I need to teach her that persistence is rewarded, and to demonstrate the power that is unearthed in learning to work hard for long periods without apparent reward. In fact, persistence is its own reward, bringing the equivalent of an endorphin high when things work out, and teaching us that we need never be frightened of even the most intimidating prospects: there are ways to dismantle thorny problems, piece by piece, but only if we have self-belief, which we learn through persistence, and faith.

In fact I can demonstrate that already, as my daughter’s work attitude has improved.  I know she has to find her own way in life, and I know she will come to me or her dad if she has any questions or worries – I’m truly blessed to know that! – so I try not to nag.  But what I can do, is respect my own work and keep on with it, even when there are a hundred other things that I could be doing, and even when people take up this or that chunk of my precious days, and interruptions get in the way. I can and will achieve what I set out to, even if the time frame is unknown or uncertain. And I can best make that happen by steadily working, a day at a time.

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