Every night when I put Lila down in her crib, this is the last thing I say to her: “Strong back, soft front, wild heart.” I touch her back, her tummy and her chest as I say the words, and then I tell her I love her. It has become like an incantation, magical words spoken that open up the possibility of sleep.
(You’ll notice I said “possibility,” not “likelihood.”)
The words come from Brené Brown, who talks about them as referring to the importance of courage and showing up (strong back), of being vulnerable rather than armored (soft front).
“Wild heart” has such a specific meaning to me that I don’t even know how Brené thinks about this phrase. One of the things that we talk about a lot in our family is the importance of keeping our truest selves from being co-opted or destroyed by the conformist pressures of the culture.
If there’s one thing I hope for with Lila, it’s that she can have the strength and imagination to keep her heart wild as she grows. As her parents, we will do all we can to keep it that way. Because what’s more important, in a life, than that connection with our own wild natures?
We talk about this idea of wildness in #Bewilderedpodcast and @themarthabeck has written about it in her books. So when I saw that the brilliant @_erinaudrey_—ceramicist, teacher, friend to donkeys— makes cups with these words on them (and so many other brilliant things), I had to have them. They arrived today. Thank you, Erin, they are every bit as magic as I’d hoped.
So when I mainline my daily caffeine from this cup, I’ll let it remind me of the joyful, important work we all have to do to conserve the wilderness within.