This past weekend my nine-year old daughter had a soccer game. At one point, she broke away with the ball and dribbled it past countless opponents and almost scored. What stopped her? She was going the wrong way and almost scored in her team’s own goal. We were shouting, “wrong goal”, but she didn’t hear us until right before she got there.
I watched her, on the edge of my seat on the bleachers. I knew. I knew that she would be so upset with herself and she’d possibly fall apart. I saw her face crumple and tears threaten, and it crushed me. Her coach ran out and pepped talked her, as did the ref and another one of her teammates. I yelled out from the stands countless times, “it’s okay, just keep going!” And she did. With tears on her cheeks and clenched fists, she stayed in. I knew she wanted to run off the field and cry. I could read her body language. I saw that her face was all scrunched up and she was fighting it all back. It broke my heart, but I was also so very proud of her. She fought through the embarrassment and didn’t give up. That takes guts! Especially when you are nine and it is easy to be embarrassed and feel like the world is judging you.
That morning I had listened to a podcast on self confidence. (I SWEAR stuff comes to us when we need it most…) I ended up taking some notes (because note taking and highlighting favorite things is the way to my heart), and one thing I wrote was this.
“Self confidence is about believing in your ability to learn, take action, fail or not fail, and to learn. Self confidence is knowing that there is nothing that can happen that you can’t handle. Self confidence is knowing that you can fail and figure stuff out.”
I know how important to me that both of my kids have a healthy amount of self-confidence. But how? How do we instill this? I can tell them they are wonderful a million times over, but they must have that inside them. Yet the game this past weekend taught my daughter more than I could ever say to her. It taught her that she can handle embarrassment and power through. That she can handle failure, and keep going. That she can keep going no matter what the odds are, and she will be better for it.
The more my children fail and keep trying, they will learn something about themselves. To have a growth mindset, where mistakes and failures are seen as necessary to life. The more they know this deep inside, the more confident that will be in their own self-worth.
To always pick themselves back up again, dust themselves off with tears in their eyes and fists clenched, and get back into the game…this what I wish for them.