You’ll notice the picture above isn’t me or my daughter. This is simply because I don’t share pictures of my family here. But occasionally I chose to post a conversation that involves them that I think really matters. And when it comes to confidence, I think its an incredibly important topic as our children have so many influences to challenge their self worth. As the mom of two teenaged sons and a pre-teen daughter who are all three very athletic, I always just assumed our daughter would be as confident as her brothers. She’s spent her entire life either playing on or hanging out at ball fields, tennis courts, in pools, and really any other athletic arena that exists. She’s watched her brothers go before her and learned first hand that every player matters and has a key role, learning how to win is important but even more important is knowing how to lose gracefully, and that setting goals and reaching them through your own hard work and determination is worth every effort.
But I never anticipated how I would feel if she started to doubt herself. The thought never occurred to me about how I would respond if she asked those painful questions so many young girls her age do like “Mom am I pretty?” or even more heartbreaking “Do you think I’m fat?” Probably because I didn’t want to think about it. You see while I’ve always been outgoing, I’ve fought my demons to quiet that voice of doubt in side me telling me no matter what I do, I won’t be good enough. Growing up, I joined every sport, club, and activity that I could. This started with dance in kindergarten through eighth grade, then piano from 4th grade to 9th grade, and choir from 7th grade through senior year that included numerous musicals, talent shows, and competition show choir in high school.
I played and adored all things athletic starting with soccer from 2nd to 7th grade and and softball from 4th to 8th grade. I only stopped playing softball because we moved and I wasn’t eager to find a new team as a freshman, more concerned about carrying on a few other activities into high school in our new town and state. Then adding in track as a sprinter in 7th grade and kept running through my sophomore year. When the coach wanted to move me to middle distance I was out ~ that’s sprinting just for longer! But I have continued to run throughout my adulthood and truly that’s my sport of choice.
And because I wasn’t busy enough I added in cheer in 7th grade and stayed full of spirit through senior year too. I loved sports as a competitor and a cheerleader ~ again always at a field, court, anywhere that sports where played.
In the midst of all of this activity, there was always a nagging self doubt and looking back, I can so clearly see that it was never really about my abilities. Growing I was able to see success in most any interest that caught my eye and as a Mom now, seeing how hard it is when your kids don’t reach goal or make the cut I was one lucky kid. It was quite honestly far more about being accepted and liked. I, just like so many young girls, wanted more than anything to be liked. To have a best friend, great friends, lots of friends, ALL the friends. To have them be loyal forever and always think I was the best. And if you’re a woman you know how incredibly hard that whole girl dynamic can be. Seeking the path of least drama is like finding a needle in a haystack and every interaction that is less than “You my BFF forever!” opens the door for more drama.
So fast forward to today and I am raising this child who loves softball (just like me), plays piano (just like me), swims competitively, is First in Fitness speed rope champion competing for her grade at the countywide event, will run track in middle school because she runs all the time, and if I let her would also dance, cheer, and do gymnastics. For now we have to protect time for family , church, academics, Girl Scouts, and life. Because you know there are a few other people in this house! She LOVES life, loves to participate in everything, and above all, she loves people. She wants a best friend and lots of friends, just like me.
Thanks to growing up and growing older (its not often we say that right?) I know that what others think of me isn’t how to define my self worth. I know that if someone isn’t nice to me, as long as I’ve been kind its usually about them and not about me. And I know that I’d rather have a handful of truly close, loyal, lifelong friends than a list of names of people who don’t really know me. Although I love to have a houseful ~ I really do! So when it comes to teaching my daughter to be confident in spite of myself, the tenderness that enters into this process is priceless. Because I can share with her first hand how I felt then and give her great examples I learned the hard way about how spending time focused on be anything less than a good and confident friend wasn’t healthy for my young soul. And in our home, I can share with her how to lean on her faith in Jesus and turn to the Bible for all the reassurance and confidence she needs.
- Luke 6: 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, so do so to them.
- Hebrews 10:35-36 Therefore do not throw away your confidence which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.
Because in all honesty, today, all grown up, the Bible is where I find my confidence and where I want my daughter to find it too. I want her to lean on a truth more meaningful than anything even I can give her about confidence or self worth so that she can know in her soul who she is and how to live her live without the drama a lack of confidence can bring.
As she turns the corner on middle school we’ll soon be looking at making some adjustments for her teeth. They need work and we’ll likely encounter our first conversations about being less than confident about her smile. I’m so hopeful we will have filled her soul with all the good things she needs to walk through that stage of personal development without self doubt or confusion about where her really beauty lies. While her brothers had traditional braces, this time around I’m learning more about Invisalign® to see if it might be a great option for our girl. Research shows it’s just as effective in treating complex teeth issues as it is with minor, more cosmetic problems — no wires and brackets needed. So we’re going to check out the Invisalign Smile Assessment to find out if Invisalign® might be a better fit for her depending on when we actually need to start doing some work.
My daughter’s smile is as wide as a child’s beaming smile can be and full of all the joy you can imagine. And we never want her to lose that joy. Her smile is the first step to sharing her self-confidence and I want to do everything I can to make sure it never fades even as it might change as she grows into the wonderful young woman she is destined to be. Tell me…
How do you teach your daughter to be confident in spite of yourself?
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Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.