Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Things Our Children Teach Us

Tonight I had the pleasure of watching my five year old son, Sebastian, surprise himself at a board breaking seminar. He broke his first board with a heel stomp on the first try after I was worried that he hadn't practiced enough (one time and he was ready!). This gave him the boost of confidence I was worried he wouldn't have.
My husband held the second board for Sebastian to break with the palm of his hand. This time, Sebastian pulled his arm back, but slowed and only tapped the board. We didn't have to say anything else. He pulled his arm back again and sent his palm straight through the center of the board.
The look on his face was priceless and I was so happy for him in that moment because I knew how excited he was. He looked at his palm, still in a position to strike, and then at his father with astonishment. His smile lit up the entire room and I was so proud of him. Not for breaking a board, but for having the confidence and the focus to do something that he had never done before.
My son is only five years old and I already admire him for his confidence, which I always lacked as a child (okay, I still do...). There were so many things I wanted to do, but I was always too nervous and afraid for fear that people might look at me and see me fail. I don't want that for my son or for any of my children.
For me to see my son have the confidence in himself to succeed in front of others (practically strangers he has only ever stood next to 10 or 11 times), without being afraid of those people seeing him fail... That is something I am so proud of.
I watch Sebastian at karate three or four nights a week as he stands in front of his peers and their parents, all of us facing a giant mirror. If I were a five year old walking into that room for the first time, I would tell my mom I couldn't do it and chances are I wouldn't even try. Hell, even gym class made me nervous--Every. Single. Class.
But here is my son, yelling "Yes, sir!" and following instructions with so much enthusiasm. He has even volunteered to help his instructor show the class their drills, twice so far! I was so proud of him when he raised his hand and walked up in front of everyone, I sent text messages to my friends and relatives because I couldn't contain my excitement.
But of course, I am nervous for him. When he got in line to break his third board, which would be held up by two concrete blocks, all I could think was, "What if he punches the block?" Yes, it was possible. But it wasn't likely! I just suffer from an annoying thing called anxiety and my thoughts run wild without my approval. Anyway, my goal is to not allow my children to know that I'm nervous for them because I don't want them to think that I don't have faith in them. I just don't want them to lose confidence in themselves if they don't succeed the first time they try.

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