We hear it takes courage to speak up, to find your voice.
To speak your mind with certainty, or even feigned certainty.
But courage is complicated and sometimes elusive.
Often it takes more than just digging deep, chinning up.

The October when she was four,
terrified of saying the magical words to a complete stranger.
So we rehearsed, in and out of costumes.
We trick-or-treated at our front door, our back door, our pantry, our shower.

And on Halloween night, when I tucked Snow White into bed,
she said, “I was so brave, Mama.”
And I said yes, yes sweetie you were.
But after a week of knocking, was she brave or experienced?

Three years later, in tears over a teasing boy.
She ignores, she avoids, she uses her words. Not her strongest words, I fear.
You have that voice, I say.
Tell him STOP like you tell your brother.

Another day, another nuisance.
Say it like you mean it, Doodlebug.
Louder, I say.
Stronger, I remind.

“Stop it. I don’t like that.” Again.
“Stop it! I don’t like that! Again.
“Stop it! I don’t like that! Again.
“STOP it! I do NOT like that!” Yes!

You’ve got it.
You had it all along.
Courage got you to the first step.
Practice gets you past the next ten.

This post inspired by Momalom‘s Five for Ten project. Check it out!


  1. “Courage got you to the first step.
    Practice gets you past the next ten.”

    I love love love this. So true. You’re a good mom teaching her this.

  2. Was it courage or practice? I love that line. Either way, she made it through.

    Good for you for encouraging her, at such a young age, to stand up for herself. It’s one of the most important lessons for a child to learn.

  3. Hmm, maybe the courage to practice? Or the practice to be courageous? I love this post. And my comment went poof. But now I see that it’s letting me add them again. Except I lost all the awesomeness I wrote before.
    Hate that.
    Love you.

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