The greatest opportunity for our children to grow, is often missed.
JoAnn Bryant here, owner and coach at JNS Sports in Reno, NV. As someone that works with kids and truly believes sport is the gateway for children gaining valuable life skills, I wanted to share a specific moment that happened at the gym last week, and frankly happens weekly at any given moment. But every time it does happen, it’s pure bliss. Pure joy, pure accomplishment and the feeling that the student, Coach, and parent is filled with is indescribable.
The moment I’m talking about you ask? When a child overcomes an obstacle and achieves a goal. It’s such a powerful moment. It’s such a huge learning moment. Its those moments that become the foundation of how they will deal with challenges as they get older in all aspects of their life.
This particular athlete has been dealing with fear. You see fear, is a bully, a monster. I refer to fear often as the fear monster that whispers in your ear.
The Fear monster, holds us all back from greatness, fear can take over our thoughts, our actions, our decisions and ultimately our path in life. Too many times, even as adults we allow fear to make decisions for us.
Its so important to remind our kids and even ourselves, that fear is apart of life, it’s not going away, and we shouldn’t feel ashamed or weak when we feel fear. Fear is not a sign of weakness but rather it’s providing a fork in the road. A moment to pause and choose a path. We have control over the role fear plays. We have the power within to shut down that fear monster. But how?
It is challenging! It takes time! I’m not saying it’s easy, but learning how to handle fear is such an important tool for kids to learn.
Last week, I got to witness an athlete overcoming her fear monster, the one that has been whispering in her ear, you can’t you can’t you can’t. She replaced it with I can, I can I can!
The smile that immediately filled her face and the joy she displayed was massive. This 9 yr old was instantly filled with so much self confidence, joy, and pride in herself. She overcame, she let her “I can” voice be louder then the fear monster that kept whispering “you can’t.” How did she do it?
She was allowed the time and patience to learn how to overcome the fear monster.
Time and Patience. Not just from me as a coach, but from her teammates, and from her family.
A child’s parents, teammates, teachers, and coaches can reinforce any child’s thoughts good or bad. We all play a role in a child overcoming fear. Her parents may have felt frustration or impatience themselves, but never showed that to their child. They allowed her the patience and support that she needed to find find her way. Her teammates never sat in judgement but surrounded her with encouragement and that she was important regardless of the skill she was scared of. She was allowed to keep her focus on shutting down the fear monster instead of having those around her feed the fear monster with negative talk.
I have seen kids in the same situation, quit altogether, never reaching their goal, never gaining the knowledge of what it feels like overcome. The moment of achievement! Never getting the time to practice shutting down their fear monster. Never getting that moment of SUCCESS because Parents decided early on that they just weren’t good enough and it’s a waste of time, or worried so much that their child was hearing that bully, the fear monster, that it was better to have them stop then to learn how to shut that bully down. Or when teammates who are so focused on “the skill” and what can their teammate do for them, that they judged each other instead of encouraged each other. All this feeds the negative self talk, feeds the fear monster, and makes the path to success even harder for the student to overcome.
I know even I as a parent, we want the most for our kids, we want success, we want them to be the best. However, we all want to raise amazing kids into absolutely rockstar adults.
Please give them the opportunity to fail, the chance to plan a path, to pick the fork in road that may seem bumpy and uphill, and encourage them while on the path. Be their cheerleader. Encourage your child to be a positive teammate, focus on what they can give the team, and patience . Let them find their path to the skill or goal they want to achieve, so they can gain the knowledge, the feelings, the character building skills that they will hold on to for life, after they persevere . They will gain more self confidence, have more self love, and positive self talk that they will carry with them into adulthood, into their careers, into their future relationships.
The existence of fear is not a DO NOT ENTER Roadblock, but rather an opportunity to plan, overcome, and achieve greatness. Talk with your child, find out what their road block is, what their fear monster is saying and encourage them down the path to face it. Work with your child’s coach and have a plan of positive reinforcement in place.
Sport and after school activities are an amazing way to help build our children into strong character driven adults.
I challenge all of us to allow our kids more time, patience, and encouragement to head down bumpy paths that lead to greatness.