This past week I was lucky enough to have the chance to watch my daughter’s soccer practice. I am always able to see her games on Saturdays, but I don’t always get to go to her practices because of my work schedule during the weekdays.
The fact that I was able to attend this week’s practice was huge!
Let me explain.
When my daughter decided to sign up for soccer this year I was excited. See, I grew up playing soccer and absolutely loved the sport. This was going to be my daughter’s first time playing on a team and I was curious to see how she would enjoy the experience. I was also a little bit nervous for her since she had never played soccer before and she just so happened to be the only girl on the team. Not that that mattered to me. I just wasn’t sure how she would handle all of these factors at once.
It has been amazing! She has enjoyed herself despite the fact that she is still learning the sport. But most importantly, she has a coach who is positive and caring and does everything he can to make her feel good about herself.
What more could a parent wish for?
Well this past week something happened during practice that had the potential to make or break my daughter’s self-esteem. Towards the end of practice the coach decided to have the team scrimmage against themselves.
No big deal. They’ve done this before and it’s something that the kids seem to enjoy. At one point, late in the scrimmage, while my daughter was playing defense the ball rolled to her and she immediately kicked it and scored a goal.
For the other team!
These are the kinds of moments that have the potential for tears.
These are the kinds of moments that can shatter confidence.
These are the kinds of moments that can rewrite lifescripts.
Neither of the above happened!
Not long after she scored a goal, for the other team, they took a quick water break. I was holding her bottle and as she ran over to me I was prepared for the worst.
Instead what took place was magnificent!
My daughter said to me, “Daddy you and I now have something in common!”
You see one day, I don’t recall exactly when, I had shared with my daughter how I had once scored a goal for the opposing team. When I was in high school! During sudden death overtime!
She had remembered the fact that, I too am human and that, I too make mistakes. Wow! I am was so happy that I had shared that with my daughter.
But just imagine for a moment if I hadn’t.
I’m glad I don’t have to.
We constantly want our children to reach for the stars.
And we mustn’t ever stop them from having high expectations. But we must also help prepare our children for when things don’t work out the way they planned. We can do this by letting our children know that we too made many mistakes along the way. In fact, we must let them know that we plan on making many more!
The sooner we start sharing our imperfections with our children, the sooner they will stop expecting to be perfect.
Just imagine if I hadn’t.
My daughter might have quit that night.
Instead, she put her arm around me, giggled and was proud of the fact that like her Daddy, she too isn’t perfect.