Growing up I was an insecure kid. I am sure there are a lot of factors to explain why that was so. Even in college I was incredibly unsure of myself. Most people wouldn’t be able to tell because I was outgoing, told jokes, and tried really hard to be the center of attention…wait…now that I think about it…maybe it was obvious.
Below are two stories that taught me what it means to be confident. Hope you enjoy. It is the last of this series.
My oldest daughter had a couple of her girlfriends over at our house for a play date. While the girls and the others were playing together, #1 wanted to show her friends a new dress mommy got for her. When she brought it out, one of her friends laughed and made fun of it. My wife was upstairs and overheard their conversation and shared #1’s response with me.
She said, “Well, I love it and I am gonna wear it.”
Just like that. That comment would have crushed me. I would have probably been mad at my mom for getting me something that my friends thought was lame let alone wear it in public. My daughter gave me a window through which I could see what it means to be confident and not care so much what others think. She showed me what it is to have an opinion and keep that conviction regardless of public consensus.
Can you imagine what my life would be like as a pastor, father, husband if I had that? Can you imagine what your life would be like if you had that confidence?
One day my son came home from school and told his mom that some kids made fun of him. He tried to play soccer but struggled. He shared that it really made him sad. Trying to encourage him my wife tells him that there are other things he can try to enjoy and to not worry about mean criticisms. As she says this, my son responds by saying that he is gonna keep trying to play no matter what. Puzzled my wife asks him why? He says, “Because I really like soccer.”
Can you believe this? He goes out every day and plays and plays regardless of the laughs but comes to the point where the laughter subsides and his soccer play improves.
He then tries handball. Same thing. Kids laugh and make fun of him. He ignores it even though it hurts his feelings. Ever since he has been playing handball, overcoming the challenges I cannot express to you the joy and pride I feel when looking at my son.
Last thing…my son struggles with his speech. It has developed a little slower than others so he has been seeing a speech therapist. My wife and I were thinking of holding him back so he wouldn’t feel burdened. Last week, my wife went into a parent/teacher conference and his therapist was there too. Both the therapist and teacher raved about our son. They love him. They said that with his work ethic and drive we have nothing to worry about and holding him back is not necessary. They shared stories like the ones you read above about how he will keep working till he gets it. His teacher said that when it rains and they have free time, he actually asks her if he can keep doing his school work (fingers crossed…Harvard here we come!).
I hope this story doesn’t make you roll your eyes…another crazy parent going on about how great his kids are. That is not my intent. I share this because I could never be or do what these two kids did with their circumstances. There have been so many mistakes I have made in my life because I simply lacked confidence.
Raising five kids is really hard but when I heard these stories from my wife, I really did feel that love matters and having a big family doesn’t have to be a liability. I believe the confidence these kids have comes from knowing that they are loved by our tribe and that reality matters most to them. While typing this blog I realized something…These two stories combine all the lessons I shared before: Family matters, parents matter.
Thanks kids…hope you as readers enjoyed this series.