My kids have guts. They are brave. They have confidence. They are strong in who they are and what they want to do.
I hope they never lose that.
Last night as I was driving to yet another baseball game Tommy informed me that coach was going to let him try pitching this game. Immediately I went into panic mode. Tommy is already the youngest on his "advanced" team and the team already has 3 very good pitchers. Tommy has NEVER pitched before nor has he practiced for it very much. What if he fails? Will that hurt his confidence? What if his team isn't supportive of his effort? What if the parents get mad? What if? What if? What if????
Of course I didn't voice my concern that way. Instead I asked him why he wanted to switch from 2nd base. "You're so good on second!" I complimented him. He didn't take the bait. He wanted to try pitching. "But you haven't really practiced pitching, hon." I warned. He told me he had practiced (when?) and coach said he could. That was the end of that conversation.
I dropped Tommy off at his pregame practice and then ran back to another ballpark to watch the remainder of Ben's baseball game. When Ben's game wrapped up we all jumped in the van and headed over to Tommy's game.
Right as we were walking up to the ballpark Tommy was taking the field. As the pitcher.
"Umm... Tommy's pitching." Todd said to me.
"He told me he was going to pitch. Man, that kid has guts." I responded.
Todd walked up to the fence to shout encouragement to Tommy. Joey perched himself on top of the slide to get an optimal view and shouted "atta boy"s at him for every throw. Me? I think I held my breath the entire time Tommy pitched.
"Woah. Where did that come from, Tommy? Good job!" I congratulated him.
"See! I told you I wanted to pitch!" Tommy said with pride.
"You were right! You definitely have more guts than I ever did when I was a kid. I'm impressed! Good for you!" I admitted.
Tommy, still small enough to hug me around the waist, squeezed me, smiled, grabbed his bat and took off to practice his swing.
As I walked back to my seat I thought about his courage. All of my kids' courage. How confident they are. How sure they are of themselves. Always willing to try new things. No fear. No worries about all eyes being on them. And I thought about my role in that. In supporting that. How careful I have to be not to put my fears onto them. How I have to applaud fearlessly whenever they want to step up, not come up with reasons they might not want to do it. I always tell my kids not to worry about failure (the biggest failure is not trying at all), but do I really support that as much as I should? Am I backing my words up with actions?
If I'm honest I was a little disappointed in myself last night. I was being a coward. And for no reason. I was so worried about my tender kids when they really are much stronger than I.
Tommy tried pitching.
Joey sings in front of the whole school.
Ben stands up to a bully on the playground.
Grace volunteers to dance in front of her class.
My kids are brave. They are confident. They are strong.
I could learn a thing or two from them.