Parents, this one is for you! ~Kim
My 9 year old daughter took on some new extra-curricular activities this school year, and that meant putting some other activities on “hold.” She determined that she was just too busy to do it all and needed some time to adjust to life as a 4th grader. She had been playing travel soccer, but right as the season was revving up, she panicked. When she came to us and said she needed downtime, we were surprised, but ultimately we understood and allowed her to step back from the team and gave her the space she needed to grow and figure things out.
She was sad the first few weeks of the season, but she moved on and didn’t think much about what she was missing out on. Instead, she was thankful for the friends she made and the experiences she had while on the team. We thought she would feel regret, but nope… and we were so proud of her. She made a decision and stuck with it!! And it was a good lesson for us, we really listened to her and validated her thoughts and feelings.
Fast forward a few months and basketball registration was coming up. She had never played on an organized basketball team, but many of her friends had and she was excited to give it a try. I signed her up and she started practicing at home and the park. I didn’t question her intentions or even ask if she felt ready for the commitment, since just a few months ago she didn’t want the extra commitments. I just didn’t make it an issue and she didn’t either.
Until… she went to the evaluation day at the local high school. There she went through a few drills and came home feeling a mix of emotions. She was excited that she went and gave it her best, but she was also feeling nervous about the skill level of the other girls. She kept her feelings to herself for a few weeks while we waited for the teams to be announced. Eventually, all of her emotions and nerves got the best of her and forced her to come to the conclusion that she felt she was not good enough to play and that she’d prefer to skip basketball this season and try it next year.
The gut-wrenching heartache kind, the kind that means your kid is really hurting.
I couldn’t believe that she let that little voice inside her head tell her she wasn’t good enough, she wasn’t athletic enough, she wasn’t e..nough.
Except, she is.
Yes, you. You are enough.
But, she had apparently missed the memo that I had so carefully tucked into our bedtime and pre-game pep talks. I have always made a conscienctious effort to provide a safety net for her fears, a sounding board for her decisions, and a springboard for her adventurous spirit. How could she ever think she wasn’t good enough to give it a try? Where did I go wrong?
As I lay in bed one night, thinking about all of my parenting missteps and her obvious inheritance of my self-doubt, I had a mom moment. It wasn’t me. She is not me and I am not her. I can’t own her feelings and wear them as my own. She has the right to feel how she feels without it reflecting poorly on me or my parenting. Once I let go of that, I could see just what to do.
The next day, I was working out with some friends and our personal trainer when I asked their “mompinion” on the matter. Do I encourage her to give it a try and learn that she is capable of overcoming her fears, learn something new, and make some new friends…or do I listen to and allow her to quit before she starts? There was a strong mix of opinions, but the majority thought I should encourage her to give it a shot.
Oddly enough, after that workout her coach called to introduce himself. It was an amazing conversation. I filled him in on her anxiousness and her feelings of inadequacies. He drew in a deep breath and explained that girls like my daughter are one of the reasons he is a coach. He couldn’t agree more that she should give it a try, but that it should ultimately be her decision. He said more than that, but the thing that stuck out the most from our chat was his dedication and heart to providing a positive experience for the girls on the team. I knew from that moment on, that this was the right team with the right coach for my daughter. He suggested she come to the first practice and “give it a try.”
So she did.
And she has attended nearly every game and practice since.
She is still nervous before every game, but she gives it her best and has taken more risks as the season has gone on. She made new friends, learned that coaches can be teachers & important leaders in her life, and most of all she has become passionate about a game she never knew she could play. The best lesson of all is that my daughter realized she is enough. She is good enough to try out sports that she’s unsure of and give it her best try. If she had quit before she tried she wouldn’t have figured out that she is capable.
We are just so proud of her, but more importantly we are filled with feelings of joy and gratitude. Her coaches-all three of them-have each encouraged her, been patient, given her lessons on the sidelines, practiced with her, and cheered her on. They have also been tough and expected the best from her.
So, when you are feeling like you aren’t enough, surround yourself with people that believe in you. They will support you when you need it. Try something new even when you are feeling like you aren’t capable. Surprise yourself with what is possible, instead of doubting your greatness. You are ENOUGH. Live your life without FEAR of failing. Find GRATITUDE in your circumstances and in your mistakes. Give yourself some GRACE and take a CHANCE!! And when needed, be the SUPPORT and CHEERLEADER that somebody else needs. We all need each other.
There are no happy accidents~