Challenging beliefs. That statement could be interpreted in diﬀerent ways. It could mean, to have our beliefs challenged or, it could mean that the beliefs that we have are challenging to believe in.
Lily is 4. She is very much what society would refer to as ‘a girlie girl’. She only ever wears dresses, most of which are adorned with frills or ﬂowers and without a shadow of a doubt, her favourite colour is pink. In her short time on this Earth, Lily has developed many beliefs. Up until recently, none of them had been challenged. And then she met me. I challenge all of Lily’s strong beliefs and this has both disturbed her and fascinated her. Being the incredibly smart little girl that she is, Lily has been asking lots of questions and I have witnessed the unbelievable process of changed thinking patterns right before my very eyes.
First, I am a girl but… I have (very) short hair. According to Lily, girls shouldn’t really have short hair. Short hair is for boys. Secondly, I have tattoos and Lily has been told that tattoo’s are ugly but… (according to Lily) I am not ugly. Lastly, I don’t wear dresses, well at least Lily has never seen me in one and she believes that girls should wear dresses more than they wear trousers.
When I came to work in my new silver sandals, Lily almost burst with excitement. She was so happy that I was wearing something remotely feminine and although she acknowledged that my sandals looked great with my jeans, she oﬀered me some valuable fashion advice “Those silver sandals would look really nice with a pink dress Clair-Louise!”
Lily asked me why I want short hair, if I think I’ll get more tattoos or do I think I have enough already (she thinks I have enough) and if I might, maybe, wear a dress on my birthday. I watched her little face as she listened carefully to my answers and she seemed to accept that even though most girls that she knows have long hair, short hair can look nice too. When I told her about the amazing Frida Kahlo who beautifully decorates the top half of my left arm, she was very impressed by this incredible woman’s story (and particularly liked the ﬂowers in Frida’s hair). Lily accepted all of my answers with a deep understanding that we are all diﬀerent. Boys, girls, short hair, long hair, pink or blue. Everyone has their own style and that’s ok.
One day the following week Lily ran up to me with a twinkle in her eyes. She stretched out her arm to show me a colourful transfer printed on her tiny wrist “Look Clair-Louise, I have a tattoo”.
About Clair-Louise Walsh
Clair-Louise is a trained Montessori Teacher, a registered Children’s Yoga teacher and trained in India for a 200 hour teaching certificate in Vinyasa and Hatha Yoga. For the past seven years she has lived and worked in Luxembourg offering Yoga to children, adults and families. Most recently, Clair graduated from university with a degree in ‘Drug and alcohol addiction therapy’ and now uses yoga and mindfulness in her work as a holistic therapist.
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