There are many. I think of this one often…
Two years ago, my 6th grade daughter made her first new year’s resolution and said she was making it happen, “I want to get over my fear of being in front of people and having all of the attention on me. So, I’m trying out for the jr. high talent show.”
It echoed in my ears as a cold sweat came over me.
Half of me was elated for her and the other half – mortified. Who doesn’t have at least one brutal jr. hi story? What if her fear only worsened?
I got off the topic of ME in my head and said, “Lucy, that’s amazing. How can I help?” She said, “I want to sing a solo.” ….a solo.
A SOLO. Did I mention this is the jr. high talent show?
Not a lot of kids were taking on a solo, much less mine – a 6th grader in a sea of 6–8th graders and mine was NOT in choir. Add to this, the fact she’d had a fear of public humiliation for years and had generally been socially self-conscious. So far, adjusting to jr. high was a day at a time experience for her.
I said, “Ok. You decide what you pull out of yourself. Everything is in you. You know this. I’m proud of you for facing this. You can do it.”
She practiced and practiced for weeks trying out countless songs. On try out day, she had a new outfit and titanium guts. I was on pins and needles for her. She was one of only a couple 6th graders singing alone…big surprise. Most were choosing to do this in packs.
And…SHE MADE IT!
Is there such a thing as being beyond proud?
Now for the next challenge – in front of all of the people at the event.
Some kids performed like they were vying for college scholarships – impressive stage presence. I was so nervous for her.
When it was her turn…she walked alone to the middle of the stage in the silence of the big gymnasium, she stood there for a second looking at the audience, her music started, and here are lyrics of the song she chose…
Birds don’t just fly, they fall down and get up – Nobody learns without getting it wrong.
I won’t give up – no I won’t give in – ‘Til I reach the end and then I’ll start again – No I won’t leave – I wanna try everything – I wanna try even though I could fail.
Look how far you’ve come – you filled your heart with love – Baby you’ve done enough – take a deep breath – Don’t beat yourself up – don’t need to run so fast – Sometimes we come last – but we did our best.
I’ll keep on making those new mistakes – I’ll keep on making them every day – Those new mistakes.
YEP – tears…and I was far from the only one who felt her poise and it’s meaning in that precious moment.
Watching this child smash her moment with bravery and depth offered a kind of inspiration that handed me one of my biggest life lessons so far. She was singing to the audience about herself – and, in having the guts to be vulnerable – with lyrics and the naked singing we call a solo, she left her fear in her dust.
I just love that kid.