My son came home from his very first choir practice and declared that he wanted to audition for a solo.
My instant reaction was to try and talk him out of it. Give him all the reasons why it wouldn’t be a good idea. At the very least, convince him to wait until next year.
I was trying to help him avoid disappointment. Keep him from the possibility of feeling pain.
But then I realized how much more far-reaching and harmful my simple act of dissuasion might be. So I kept my thoughts to myself, and jumped head-first into that conversation.
“I think that’s great, buddy! What makes you want to try out? Do you know what an audition is? Let’s figure out what you need to do so you can work really hard and practice!”
One thing you need to know about me: I’m a fly-under-the-radar type gal. A never-stick-your-neck-out sort of person. Someone who avoids the possibility of rejection or looking foolish at all costs.
And in that moment I realized I was about to project that characteristic right onto my son and start training him up with that same fear of failure.
Friends, this is way out of my comfort zone. I’m happy to be my kids’ biggest cheerleader. But cheering them on toward something that has the potential to lead to heartbreak is not in my nature.
However, looking long-term, do I really want to teach them to hold back? To limit themselves? To fail to pursue their full potential?
No, I don’t. And even more, I want them to learn how to appropriately deal with things like heartache and disappointment.
And I can’t do that if I spend all my energy helping them to avoid it.
So here I am, parenting out of my comfort zone. I think we all have these areas of weakness and it’s incredibly important that we’re honest enough with ourselves to be aware of them. And it’s even more important that we’re hyper-vigilant about refusing to project them onto our kids.
In what ways have you been forced to parent outside of your comfort zone?