I Would Slay Dragons For You


I Would Slay Dragons For YouThere’s a story you probably know about a beautiful princess locked away in a deserted tower. She’s never been around other people. She can only ever remember one companion, and he’s not a great conversationalist. Things between them have always been heated, since, well, he’s a dragon. 

And then, as the story goes, someone appears in the far-off distance, approaching closer and closer till it’s clear this isn’t just some passerby. It’s a knight astride a stunning white stallion, his shield across his back. He’s come to battle the dragon and save the princess! 

I imagine we’ve all grown up with some variation of this fairy tale, and just as with quicksand and poisoned apples, we’ve all realized dragons aren’t quite as ubiquitous as the tales would have us believe. So we grow up and put childish things away, we start these adult lives, and maybe, some years later, we find ourselves drawn back to the age-old fairy tales as we read to a child of our own. 

And sometimes it takes longer, sometimes shorter, but maybe you, like me, have come to learn that there are still dragons to be fought and battles to be won. Unlike the stories, however, the dragons don’t breathe fire and wear unpierceable scales. With the eyes of a child and the knowledge of adulthood, I’m finding the dragons I slay come in different packages. 

One thing remains the same, however: If it’s for my kids, I would slay all the dragons.

Today’s dragons look nothing so scary as the ones of my imagination, but they’re daunting all the same. They’re the insurance companies that refuse treatment based on some far-off doctor’s analysis of notes on a screen rather than interaction with a child. They’re the coach who doesn’t treat a kid fairly and give him time to play. They’re the teacher who sometimes becomes as much of a bully as peers can be. They’re the standards and strictures of schools that are biased against certain kids for ridiculous reasons, like rules about hair color or length that don’t work for kids of different ethnicities. 

These dragons are hard to come up against and have their own armor in place. They have piles of red tape, forms to fill out, phone numbers to call, and robotic answering systems meant to frustrate. They come in the form of authority figures who get a high from the little amount of power they’ve been given and forget that they, too, are only human and should be compassionate toward others. They’re the rules we keep “just because we always have” or for some other asinine and old-fashioned reason. 

As a mom, I’m learning that even though I’ve never been a very assertive person, I’m willing to learn to be assertive for my children.

I will go to bat for them and run through hurdles of red tape and appointments and meetings and paperwork. I will wield sheer stubborn willpower and perseverance like a shield and push forward even if it means repeating steps again and again. 

So many of these dragons come up in the form of faceless, nameless things that stop us in our tracks, and even though there are times I would like nothing more than to lose my cool and shout someone down, I will do as the time-honored golden rule would bid me. I will do unto others as I wish them to do unto me. 

What I won’t do and what I can’t do for the sake of my kids is sit back and be a doormat. 

My kids need to see me stand up for them because they do not have a voice yet. I will stand up for them because they need an advocate at times, and I am that person. For them, I will go up against the dragons they can’t face and work my hardest to slay them all. I want to teach my kids that they can rely on me to help them face the big battles of life, especially when those battles have bigger opponents than them. And I want to teach them not just how to advocate for themselves, but also how to manage defeat. 

Sometimes you slay the dragons, and sometimes the dragons win. The fairy tales don’t teach us about the times the dragons win, but I want my kids to learn how to handle a loss with grace and poise and how to still be able to hold their heads up high. 

When the dragons loom before them, I’ll be there to suit up and go to battle because I would slay dragons for my kids.


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