For years Greg and I attempted to entice our children with different sports to play. Soccer is fun! You’re gonna love lacrosse! Let’s try field hockey! And what we got was 2 children that wanted next to nothing to do with organized sports. This was tough for Greg. He was involved in baseball, soccer, golf, and basketball his entire life. His kids weren’t interested in sports? Tough thing to swallow.
Interestingly enough, both our daughters give similar excuses to why sports aren’t their thing.
“I don’t want people cheering for me.”
“Everyone is looking at me.”
“It’s too loud.”
Couple that with the sometimes-chaos of sporting events, feeling shy, and maybe just not wanting to run around and you have 2 kids that aren’t going to find success on a field. Believe me, we pushed. We begged. We forced. It didn’t work.
Both Greg and I agreed that the girls need to do something extracurricular. They couldn’t just hang out at home, picking on each other. When they were teeny tiny (think: 4-6 years old) we tried gymnastics and dance. Gymnastics was fun, but neither Claire or Jenna was bitten by the gymnastics bug. They liked it, but didn’t love it enough to want to do it any more. Dance? We’ve been having them dance for years. When they were teeny tiny, this didn’t go so well. They were shy and didn’t think performing in front of hundreds of strangers was a great idea.
But over the years, my sweet girls really started to like dancing. And drama (The organized-being-in-a-play kind. Not the drama queen stuff.). Perform in front of an audience? No problem. Everyone looking at me while I dance or sing or do acrobatics? Awesome.
I can’t pinpoint the time when both of my children decided that they liked performing. It just happened. Before I knew it, my girls not only wanted the attention that comes with wanting to be on stage, they demanded it.
Last year (when they were 9 and 11) they honed in on what they “loved” doing. For Claire (now 12) it was dance. She determined she wants to be a ballerina and has worked relentlessly to make that happen. I’m shocked and amazed at her natural ability and dedication to being a beautiful dancer. I’m stunned at her progress and love of ballet. I love to watch her dance. The best part? She loves it. She can’t wait to get to the ballet studio. She has never once not wanted to go. I love that she loves it. One of her teachers once told her “you were meant to do this.” Powerful.
And Jenna (10) has found gymnastics. She can’t wait for her classes every week. She loves going, as well as, practicing at home. We often say she spends more time upside down, than right side up. Greg has made her a balance beam for home. She is currently in the process of begging him to make her a bar, as uneven bars are her favorite. Jenna is so strong (body and mind) that I know she’s going to do very well at gymnastics. She’s already fantastic at what she’s learned. And adorable. I can’t believe what she can do (read: what I never had the guts to do growing up, when I wanted to be a gymnast). I would be remise if I didn’t mention that Jenna does play field hockey in the fall. And she’s great at it.
Beyond being profoundly proud of my hardworking, talented girls, I am content. Content that they have been found something that they truly love to do. Something that they look forward to and have found success with. Something that helps their self esteem tremendously and gives them confidence that they are absolutely awesome human beings.
So find what your kids love. Not what YOU love. It may take a lot of trial and error. And time. Let them explore all possibilities and guide them when needed. They will find their way and achieve true bliss in doing what they love. And then you’ll get to see them blossom and grow into amazing people.
I love you Claire and Jenna and am so proud of you!!
Thanks for reading and sharing this post from On My Own Nerves.