I am, always, without a doubt proud of my kids. Sophie, at four, asks repeatedly whether I’m proud of her for accomplishing a puzzle, baking a cake, or even just cleaning up her toys. The answer, always ‘yes’. Oli has reached an age where he knows what ‘being proud’ entails, languishes praise, but is battling with pride in himself and his work.
My sweet boy is so scared of failure, he’s so scared we won’t be proud, that sometimes he’s simply too scared to try, than try and fail, or get anything but praise. He’s been battling in test situations with his confidence. He needs to ‘remove the noise’ and negativity standing in his way before he can clear his mind and complete a task, which, is very often brilliantly accomplished.
I came across something on social media a few weeks ago and it really spoke to me:
Let’s Be Proud of Our Kids…
Even when they don’t win the game.
Even when they don’t make the A.
Even when they make a mistake.
Let them look back and remember –
A parent who didn’t add to their disappointment when they’d given their best effort, but instead chose grace.
A few weeks ago Oli’s Primary School had Interhouse Cross Country. They never got a chance to practise or train but were expected to run further than they had ever run (hell I don’t think I would have made the time most of these Grade One’s did). Oli was so excited, amped and ready to run. He was in the front row and as they signalled the start, off he went, like a race horse right out of the gate. 15 metres in though, a boy next to him gave him a shove (there’s always that one kid) and down he fell. It took every inch of my being to not leap up and run to him. The entire pack ran past, and some over, him. My heart broke a little. But them something magical happened. That little boy with the grazed knee and bruised ego picked himself up, quite literally egged himself on and off he ran after the last child. I could see from where I sat this sweet, determined child of mine cheering himself on – you see, for as long as he can remember, we’ve always told our kids, no matter what, you never give up. After vanishing from sight as they ran to a lower field all I could feel was pride. He might come stone last, but he would do it, I knew. As the first few runners came up the hill to race to the finish line I kept scanning the field for Oli. The first 5, then 10 runners were in. All of a sudden a little blonde head bobbed into my vision and his sprint to the finish line was nothing short of epic. The child who could have given up, clutching his knee, had gotten up from last position and finished in the first half of the pack. What a champ. That right there was my proudest moment.
When Oli came to find me after the race he looked and me and said “Did I do okay Mommy, did I get a point for my house?”, I could have wept. My boy you did more than just ‘okay’ – you showed me what determination and pride looks like. What it looks like to give your best. What it looks like to be confident enough to not give up even when that means you might not win.
My darling, you’re six, you shouldn’t have to know angst and anxiety – that’s what you have parents for. Go – play, try, fail but always know we are proud of you, and feel pride in yourself.