Braver/Wiser: A Weekly Message of Courage and Compassion

The Power to Save

By Sara Palmer

“Fear told me that if I was quiet, I’d be safe. I love safety. It’s my favorite. So I agreed. When I obeyed fear and was quiet, I gave it access to my voice.”
–Bunmi Laditan

My young kiddo Samantha and I discovered a honey bee trapped in a spider web, wrapped in a tangle of sticky webbing. The spider was close but not moving closer, lest they get stung.

Samantha turned to me, insistent. "Mama, we need to save the bee!"

"But what about the spider? Don't they need to eat, too?" I replied. I was interested in how it would play out, like a tiny tiger vs. gazelle.

Samantha’s eyebrows furrowed. "Mama, we need to save the bee!" She wasn't panicked, but there was a desperate note in her voice.

"Well, you can," I answered. "I don't want to interfere." Instantly she located a stick and tenderly began to pull threads from the bee.

The spider made a run for it and the bee wriggled. Samantha moved the bee and the sticky web strands, like a medivac helicopter, to a nearby leaf. The bee could stand and move her forelegs over her antennae and rear legs, but couldn't free her wings.

I asked for the stick and gently unwound the remaining web from her wings. The bee's wings buzzed to life and she flew away.

Samantha was visibly relieved. "I'm glad we saved her. The spider will get other food today." We watched the spider pull ragged strands to rebuild.

A mother and daughter, holding hands, walk on a path through a forest. They are smiling at one another, and are seen from behind.

Later, I realized that Samantha felt powerless to help the bee because I hadn't given her permission to help. With a peer, she would've immediately saved the bee. But in the face of a passive authority figure, she felt blocked from doing what felt right to her.

Since then, whether it’s in the car or at bedtime, I’ve talked with my daughter about listening to her gut; my promise to pick her up anytime she calls me; how important it is, once she’s safe, to take care of others who don’t have the power she does.

As Samantha’s grown-up, I'm compelled to use my unique influence to teach her all the ways she can trust herself.

I have to give her permission to save the bee, over and over and over again.

Prayer

Higher Power, your gentle nudges towards being a better person are not lost on us. May we forever perceive the ways we can empower others, and then live out those ways with a spirit of strength, justice, and joy.

About the Author

Sara Palmer

Sara Palmer (she|her) is a recovering addict/scrappy survivor who triumphed over abuse, assault, and addiction. She founded Sara Palmer Speaks, getting hired by companies and organizations to speak to, train, and coach overwhelmed moms in powerful communication, boundary setting, and real self care.

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