When my daughter, Victoria, was just a tiny girl, she had a tendency to stomp her feet when she got mad. She got mad a lot.
Some parents may have found this gift of self-expression charming. I did not.
I remember holding her little hands one day and looking straight into her bright blue eyes, explaining, “Your feet are not the boss of you, Tori. You are the boss of your feet. When you get frustrated at something, you can tell me about it but you need to always tell your feet: feet don’t stomp.”
It worked. She still got frustrated, but she would look down at her little saltwater sandals and say in her sternest voice, “Feet don’t stomp!” and after that it was hard to stay mad. It became a really good lesson in self-control.
Years later, I’m discovering that much of our success in life hinges on knowing when to restrain our frustration and when to channel it into movement that brings change.
Sometimes, it turns out, you gotta get good and mad. You have to work up the sort of steam that makes the tea kettle whistle or the engine blow.
On September 8, 2012, a lot of people said: Hey feet? Go ahead and stomp.
Stomp for those who have already suffered and died from this disease.
Stomp for those who are fighting so valiantly.
Stomp for the families who love them so dearly.
And as we watched those beautiful feet, we felt like more than a family with a sad story. We felt like part of a movement and no big change can come until something moves.
Sometimes it’s good to be peaceable and sweet (maybe even most times, Victoria.)
But sometimes you gotta get up and get going.
Hey feet – you brought it Saturday (over $13,000 from Team Stern and counting.)
And we couldn’t love you more.
(Thanks to Tess Stern and Barb Deeming for these photos).