"You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
Recently our older two (8 and 4 years old at time of post) have had some crowning moments in their extracurricular activities that turned my thoughts to the topic of confidence. I would have called myself a confident child. Even with the praise of a diligent mother, I could easily be swayed from being sure of myself. I can pinpoint a few times before I turned 18 that could be labeled as moments where I felt confident, and sports teams appear to be the top contenders for how that happened.
For our 'Lil Miss, she joined a small cheer team. After near two months of practice, they performed at a college in front of hundreds of people. For a girl that can second guess every social situation to tears, she said her butterflies left her body as the team took the floor and they performed a near flawless routine. The energy was coming off of her the entire time and such a great showing made the day that much more sweet for her. It was her first trophy and you could tell how much the whole experience meant to her. In the short time following, she's already expressing interest in other activities that we are sure will build on the confidence that we're already seeing grow within her.
For our 'Lil Man, T-Ball is about half over, and hitting off the T was replaced with coach pitching. I had been working on that at home, but never expected it this season. During the allotted 90 minutes, my little buddy swung with all his might during his first and second at bat with no success. His third clipped the top of the ball for a bunt-like single. As the game came to a close, and coach yelled out "last batter" to the other team, my 'Lil Man swung once, then connected on the second pitch. The ball sailed into the outfield and brought in loaded bases. The entire group of parents cheered him on and the coach scooped the entire small team of 6 boys in his arms saying how great they ended the game. Our little guy was beaming the rest of the day, and couldn't wait for his next game.
As I recalled the events with a neighbor, I thought how much these activities can give to our little ones. My comment was that whatever my little ones were destined for, it was my job to give them opportunities to shine, build character and confidence, and be their biggest fan along the way. We can provide the vehicle for these budding minds to be strong and independent. I think we just need to keep trying to be selfless and give them their time to build their courage.