COURAGE & TEETH
A Loose Tooth
JoAnna Bennett, O’Brien Communications Group
June 2, 2022
Last week, my daughter came home from school and did what she usually does. She ran around with her friends, ate a lot of snacks, and rode her bike up and down the driveway. It was a usual day until she bit too hard into one of those previously mentioned snacks. She ran to me screaming in pain. And when she calmed down, I asked her what happened. She opened her mouth and pointed to her loose tooth.
Dangling by a Thread
The mere movement of her bottom lip sent this bottom tooth wriggling around in her mouth. When she spoke, it gracefully turned 180 degrees – the front was in the back and the back was in the front. I knew it was time to pull the tooth out. It would only hurt her more as it slowly released itself from the thread of gum holding it in place.
My daughter and I talked about removing the tooth for about 30 minutes before any action was taken. She was reasonably scared. Even though this was her fifth tooth removal, she couldn’t remember how little it hurt to remove the four previous teeth. I told her she should open her mouth and be brave and bold. She chanted that mantra several times until she finally agreed. She was brave and bold.
She smiled wide. I barely tugged on the tooth. And then I told her a tall tale. “I didn’t get it that time!” I exclaimed. She frustratedly smiled again saying, “I’m brave and bold.” Then her tongue brushed into the front of her mouth, and she realized the tooth was missing.
“Mom!” she shouted. “It’s gone!”
I replied, “I told ya it wouldn’t hurt.”
As Malcolm Gladwell wrote in, David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants, “Courage is not something that you already have that makes you brave when the tough times start. Courage is what you earn when you’ve been through the tough times and you discover they aren’t so tough after all.”
And that night, we all celebrated the undoubtable courage my daughter showcased. She was scared, but she dug deep and chose to be brave. After the fact, she discovered what she feared wasn’t so bad after all.
That’s why she’ll always be my hero.