Today is the last day of middle school football try-outs. My son tried out last year as a sixth grader and I still remember the night that they posted the team on the school’s website. They said it would be up at 9 pm. All the kids were anxiously sitting around the computer. I had even let the little ones stay up to share this moment. I was so proud of him for trying out that I wanted him to be surrounded by his siblings, whether his name was on that team roster or not.
We waited and waited as 9 pm came and went without the roster being posted. The little ones were getting tired and the anxiety of waiting seemed to start to take its toll on my son. I told him we would check one more time. Suddenly, the team list was up. And there, halfway down the list, was my son’s name. He had made the team! He screamed and jumped around, and the other kids were screaming and hugging. It was such a neat moment to see how sincere they were with their excitement.
Of course I wanted him to make the team, but I was also aware of the fact that not all sixth graders make teams in middle school. Every day before tryouts I told him how proud I was that he was going out there and trying, and looking back I wonder if I was preparing him more for the let down of not making the team than I was boosting his confidence that he was good enough to make the team as a sixth grader. I found myself doing it again this morning, telling him that I am so proud of him whether he makes the team or not. Why didn’t I just say, “go get em!!!”?
All afternoon I have been thinking about it and wondering if I am doing a good job raising confident children. Can you see just from that statement alone, that confidence is something I struggle with all the time? I am the type of person that can have a hundred nice things said about something I wrote….but I will remember the one negative comment I get. One of my daughters is completely the opposite. She is the most confident person I have ever met. Whatever she does, she knows that either she will succeed or learn something valuable if she doesn’t. She doesn’t dwell for a minute, she just goes back out there and tries again.
So here we are a year later, and tonight we will once again be huddled around the computer waiting for the team roster to be posted. Whether he makes it or not, I just hope and pray that I am raising children who are confident in themselves.
My question for all parents is this: how do we teach our children to enter every situation with confidence? At the same time, how do we teach them to be confident while also teaching them that life doesn’t always go the way they will want it to, and that they need to have the resilience to keep going?
I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!!!!