Last weekend we celebrated my son’s 10th birthday. While my husband took him and some friends to a movie, my daughter and I were tasked with meeting them at the park with pizza and cake afterwards.
Our amazing neighbor has a tradition of baking our kids beautiful, birthday cakes. As usual, she did not disappoint. She presented me with a chocolate bundt cake, homemade butter cream frosting, decorated with raspberries… delicately poised on a podium cake plate.
My daughter, newly 6-years-old and full of fire, wanted to hold the cake in the car ride to the park.
Her, “Mama, do you trust me to hold J’s cake?”
Me, “Yes, baby, I trust you. Squeeze the bottom with your legs and keep your hands on the plate.”
Her, “I got it, mama.”
It was a simple, everyday moment really. One of a million tests throughout the week to see if I can live my values… in this case, teaching trust by actually trusting.
The cake arrived unharmed, with the exception of a smiley face drawn into the frosting by a little finger.
She felt proud. I felt relieved.
Later in the week I was coaching a school principal. We were discussing how we teach and model personal responsibility… easier said than done.
I shared the example of the cake, and we discussed how important it is to be clear about what we actually value so that we can make choices based on our values, moment to moment.
In my own life I aim to practice what I teach, to coach myself in the hard questions that I ask of others:
- Am I communicating effectively?
- Am I clear on my values? Am I making decisions based on those values?
- Am I doing my best to make a positive impact?
- Am I living nakedly – courageously expressing who I really am?
The gorgeous cake story is a mundane example of paying attention, of listening to my daughter’s request, and of choosing to take a small risk for the potentially big reward of trust.