Be Brave Little One
When I became a mother four years ago the thought of navigating complex life lessons with my daughter seemed a lifetime away. Surely the most we’d be handling before elementary school would be basics like the importance of sharing and showing kindness and love to others.
Never did it cross my mind that three and a half, four years later I’d be coaching my daughter through one of the most important fundamentals of human character that without which could make or break her confidence and self esteem: courage and bravery.
No we didn’t face this through a family crisis or tragedy, but rather through a common activity, the dance recital.
Our lady Violet loves to dance and enthusiastically attend lessons each week. However, whenever she’d hear the word “recital” all expression would leave her precious face as she replied concernedly, “I don’t know about that.” Unfortunately, this began back in November when she was measured for her costume. The recital wasn’t until the last week of April… Anytime it was randomly brought up in conversation I would assure her she didn’t need to think about it because it was so far away and we’d talk about it as it got closer. Thankfully that seemed to appease her and not affect her enjoyment of the class.
Fast forward to the first week of April. Each class the girls would practice the first half and then perform their routine, along with other classes, for the parents in order to prepare them for the big performance.
Each week she did great, but the drive home was always filled with, “I don’t want to get up in front of people. What if they laugh because I’m not doing it right?” Seriously? Where in the world would she have gotten that thought?
And why did she have to inherit her Mom’s perfectionism? I’m pretty sure I spent that month sounding like a broken record as I acknowledged her feelings, assured her that no one would be laughing and explaining that we were going to continue to take it one week (or day…) at a time and that I thought things would start feeling better soon.
You never know in those situations if they truly will improve- especially when it’s your first time at this parenting thing, but I believed it really would get better….and after the dress rehearsal, thankfully, it did! Once she saw the big stage with the pretty purple lights shining and she put on her darling, sequin costume- and of course lipstick, she was no longer concerned. She did have a little hesitation about it when we dropped her backstage the day of, but there was no longer panic or fear in her eyes.
When her class came onto the stage she was right in front, smiling so big, doing her steps, but most importantly just overflowing with joy.
I sat there bawling. She was so little, and although to some this would seem a tiny hump, for her it was a gigantic, monumental hurdle. On the way home, I asked her how she felt about the recital. Her response to me, “Mommy, it wasn’t as scary as I thought. I wish I would have known.” Leave it to my sweet four year old to do the preaching.
Today, I’m praying that that small act of courage and bravery builds upon the next and that she continues to grow in confidence and integrity through the years. Not just confidence to get up on a stage but to face her fears head on, fulfill her commitments, be herself- imperfections and all, be honest about her feelings, stand up for the things she believes in, speak out when she’s wronged or placed in an uncomfortable situation and never give up regardless of the odds. I wish I could say I’ve mastered all these, but I’m still in process. I’m just grateful for this fantastic reminder that I’m working hard to hold onto as I face various obstacles and challenges of my own, and look forward to more of these gems of wisdom she has to teach me in the future.