Letting go of “I can’t do it”

This 'letting go' metaphor is to be used on children who find it difficult to go and do things on their own. Children who are always saying "I can't go there or do that". Some are too afraid of letting go and doing something different. Read it at bedtime or other time to suit. It is written with alternatives within the text to suit most small children. You can substitute longer words if your child does not understand them.

Letting go

In coral bay with warm, shallow water lived a little octopus named Blubub. The little octopus stayed close to the coral and white sand beach. I am sure you know an octopus has eight legs? These legs are called tentacles. It is a strange name when there are only eight of them. They should be called eightacles.

Blubub enjoyed wrapping its tentacles his/her around things and hanging on. Sometimes she/he was good at letting go and grabbed the tail of a fish swimming by. Blubub tightly held on to go for a ride. If the sea was rough during a storm Blubub would cling to the coral. He/she had strong tentacles so felt safe and secure. Holding on with all eight tentacles is safe

Blubub saw a boat close the coral reef, about 3 meters away. He/she felt brave and so went out exploring the boat on his/her own. If there was a problem the reef was only 3 meters away, so it had to be safe. The little octopus saw a thick strong rope strong hanging from a boat. He/she knew what a boat was but what was this thick ridged thing hanging down. As Blubub got closer the shape of a large anchor hanging below the boat became clear. The little octopus wrapped his/her tentacles right round the anchor rope and looked down.

Without any warning the rope suddenly fell downwards. As Blubub did not know what was happening he/she clung onto the thick rope. But it kept falling deeper and deeper. It was getting darker and colder. Blubub had only ever lived in the warm shallow sunny waters of the bay.

This was frightening and he/she and didn’t like it. He/she also didn’t know what to do.

Should Blubub hang on or let go? What would you do? Not letting go was the only option as far as Blubub was concerned.

Blubub hung on until the anchor hit the sea floor. It was a loud thud and sending a lot of mud into the sea making it more difficult to see. He/she knew that in a storm the safe thing to do is cling on tight so he/she did that.

He/she was frightened of this cold and dark place. Blubub still hung on not knowing what to do.

Then the little octopus saw a fish swimming toward it. It was one he had hitched a ride on the day before. “Please help me” called the little octopus. “Will you help me?”

“Yes, I will help you,” said the fish. Who was looking concerned about Blubub. Even the fish was surprised to see him/her on the bottom of the sea. “But, you have to help yourself first".

"You must to let go of the rope". Blubub was even more frightened and didn’t know what to do. The rope was strong and felt safe. If he/she let go, he/she would be floating alone in the water. Blubub looked at the friendly fish. The fish did a fishy smile and waved a fin as if to say it will be OK to swim to me. "You are good at letting go of the rock and swimming to me when you grab my tail for a ride". You can do it again now".

The brave little octopus slowly let go one tentacle at a time. Having eight tentacles it took a while.

(Eight tentacle can be great when hug someone you love. But letting go of someone or something is much harder). It is the last one that is the hardest. Somehow this tentacle did not want to let go. It held on for longer then, with a burst of courage it let go too.

The friendly fish congratulated Blubub. Who was slowly and nervously swimming toward the fish. “Follow me.” said the fish as I slow swam away from Blubub. It slowly swam from side to side. But little by little swimming up as well. Going toward the warm and shallow waters of the bay. The fish kept encouraging Blubub. And saying how brave and cleaver he/she was by doing all this swimming on his/her own. Blubub realised that if he/she ever got into deep water they could do this again.

Blubub started to feel stronger, less nervous and even happier as he/she swam upwards. In fact he/she felt so confident that the little octopus caught up with the fish and swam with it. Then, to the fishes surprise, Blubub swam in front. He/she no longer need a guide Blubub did not feel out of his/her depth.

The friendly fish slowed down to let Blubub get a long way in front. The it shouted “Blubub you no longer do you need me. You can swim on your own now. Enjoy the adventures that life has to offer.”

The happy little octopus thanked the fish and blew a big kiss and swam up to the bay. When Blubub got there he/she could see the familiar bright colours. The yellows, greens, purples, reds, and blues of the pretty fish swimming in and out of the beautiful coral. Blubub felt safe as everything was familiar. But now this little octopus felt different. He/she was stronger, more confident and wanted to go on more adventures.

Blubub did something that an octopus doesn’t normally do. It crawled over the coral, onto the sand and onto the beach. He/she and stretched out all eight tentacles and got a tan. This was something he would never have done before but Blubub was enjoying taking in the rays.

Blubub realised that doing something new is not as scary as he/she had believed before. There were some cliffs behind the beach and a though came into his/her head. "A little octopus is not supposed to be able to lay on a beach, but I did it". "I bet someone would tell me that a little octopus can't climb cliffs".

Blubub was not going to listen to silly voices that told him/her that a little octopus can't do this or that. Blubub had a new belief, "A little octopus can do whatever it believes it can". So he/she started its climb the cliff .

Blubub had to learn as he/she went along. There was no friendly fish to guide the way. It was not always easy, Blubub found lots of ways that were not the best one to climb a steep cliff. These little errors did not stop the brave little octopus. He/she was excited up for the challenge and not going to fail. Sometimes he/she doubted that he/she could do it. But Blubub knew that the hardest part was starting the adventure and that was in the past.  One thing that was learned was that letting go can be the start of many new adventures. The little octopus carried on and shouted with excitement at the top. It was an wonderful feeling of success.

Blubub experienced something else that was new - a cool sea breeze. He/she saw sea birds soaring on this breeze. And thought "I bet they believe that a little octopus can't do that.".

Blubub knew that between his tentacles were large flaps/webs of skin - like eight slippery wings. The adventurous little octopus no longer listened to voices in his head that said "Can't do it". Letting go was now a normal thing to do. He/she spread its tentacles out so the wing-like flaps/webs fluttered in the breeze. And Blubub began to lift off the cliff on the cool sea breeze.

Like a seagull he/she soared into the sky, riding higher and higher than any octopus had ever done before. Blubub looked down to the bay below and the vast ocean beyond. That bay was where he had come from. It was all he/she had ever known. About an hour ago he was terrified at the bottom of the bay. Now Blubub was in a place he/she never knew existed.

Blubub liked the colours of the fish and coral and decided he/she wanted those colours too. As Blubub flew over the mountains and lakes far from the bay the colours got brighter and brighter. His/her tentacles got longer and longer as they danced in the breeze.

Would you ever have guessed that a clingy little octopus could have grown and flown to so high so quickly?

Blubub the octopus letting go and flying

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