When I was a kid, we played outside all the time. None of the kids were the same ages and it didn’t matter. We had a set of swings, a baseball diamond, and at night we played hide and seek after dark and caught fireflies in our hands. Mostly we rode bikes. My brother was on the local baseball team and I kept score. He was a good ball player, so I remember good times, except for the coach’s son- he got screamed at constantly. I think back now that it must have been a difficult time, and wonder if even as good as he became, he ever enjoyed it.
A young man special to me has spent the entire baseball season in the outfield or on the bench. Because another child didn’t come to the next to last game, he was put on third base and he was awesome! For the last game, he returned to the bench or played right field. His spirit is gone as is that of the other 4 or 5 boys that have spent the season on the bench or outfield. They won’t return next year because it isn’t fun, and they are not as good as the others. It is easy to complain and place blame, but we all know that it happens. If we are honest, we probably would say that those kids weren’t there because it was what they wanted in their heart. Maybe a parent wanted them to do something, or they wanted to be like someone else, or be with someone else who played. A few may be living their dream and struggling with realizing that dream. Whether it is baseball, or dance, gymnastics, or playing an instrument, few start out being as good as they expected. Immediate gratification is not available and practice is a necessity.
Through the struggles of learning something new, and dealing with a reduced self- confidence, children need the reminders of who they are. Encourage them to keep spiritual pride while going through the steps of achievement by reminding them of all their previous successes. Some things may come easier than others, but they need to believe in themselves and give gratitude for each step forward which will help them to stay focused. In “The Trick to Raising Kids Who Love Themselves” By Dr. Sherrie Campbell she says,” If we are not happy with what we see in our children, in terms of attitude, responsibility and being grateful, then we have to look deeply at ourselves and what we are modeling for them.”
One of personal favorite poems from My Loving Self and Me ends,
I will strive to be the best me I can be,
And always along the way,
Love me just as I am.
Confidence and self love are crucial to trying new things because there is nothing at stake. They don’t have to win. They don’t have to be the best. They do it because it brings joy.