It was just a short hike through Placerita Canyon, under 4 miles. It was typical of a hike with my elder daughter, the fifth of six children. She delights in pointing out things for me to photograph as we walk. For her, it is the point of the walk.
Since she was a baby, her driving force in life has been helping others. This day was no different than any other. She delighted in pointing out every little thing captured in the photos on this page. It made her happy to make me happy.
She is a people pleaser. I know that term has negative connotations, and we do worry about it. The obvious concerns exist. It’s what makes her the easy target of bullies at school. Her desire to please is constant, and sometimes unwelcome. Her sense of timing is still developing.
One of my jobs as her father is to encourage the best parts of what being a people pleaser brings to the world, while at the same time showing her how she should expect to be treated by the people who are the object of her affection. It’s a tightrope I don’t always walk with grace.
Long lectures on how to NOT be a doormat for others are never going to get that job done, though I’ve delivered a few of those. I know it will be the little things. It will be the small, almost unnoticeable moments where her acts of kindness are greeted with gratitude and respect. The little things I do in response to her desire to please me will hopefully teach her what to expect from those she loves, and help her notice when what she should expect is not delivered in return. And hopefully, the long lectures will help her understand what to do when it is not.
I struggle with people pleasers. I’ve struggled with her. I can only hope the times like this when the little things were noticed and rewarded properly, outnumber the times when I’ve not appreciated her going out of her way to deliver kindness.
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