My daughter recently participated in her first swim competition. As a novice swimmer, her level of skill clearly did not match that of her competitors. And her mother was nervous.
Sitting in a metal bleacher (much longer than any human’s backside should endure) I nervously awaited my daughter’s race. I admit that my nervousness had nothing to do with my hopes that she would win. I knew better than that. She lacked the skill and experience to win a race in this competition.
My nervousness had everything do to with my fear of how she would handle her performance.
Given that she joined the team in the middle of the summer season and had less than a week of practice under her belt, her performance at this competition was guaranteed to be a “Bless Your Heart” moment.
As the big moment approached I watched her coach speak to her, giving her some words of advice. Eager to do well, she stepped up to the line. When the buzzer went off it didn’t take long for her to fall behind.
The crowd cheered as each competitor raced to one end of the pool and back. One team celebrated when their swimmer finished first. Another team cheered when their teammate came in second. Each of the competitors completed the race and my daughter was still swimming.
As she slowed down, clearly struggling to finish, her teammates cheered her on. Then the next team cheered. And the next team. Within a matter of seconds the entire room full of swimmers, coaches and parents erupted in cheers of encouragement as my daughter finished her race.
As she climbed out of the pool, swimmers high-fived and patted her on the back letting her know she did a great job.
Now… I’ve never fallen among the ranks of the “We’re all winners!” regime. The truth is, I believe competition has it’s place and is very healthy. At the same time, what my daughter experienced that day was a moment of genuine encouragement for pushing through and finishing the race.
As a mom, what I experienced was a safe place where my daughter can try, fail and be challenged to try again.
In the midst of that moment, I was reminded of how much I want my child to be celebrated.
How much I want someone else to believe in her as much as I believe in her.
How much I want someone else to cheer her on as much as I cheer her on.
And how much someone else’s confidence in my daughter feeds my confidence in my daughter.
As SGLs, we have this opportunity to Partner with Parents through the simple act of believing in our few. We immediately create the key to a parent’s heart when we sincerely love, celebrate and encourage their child. This act alone wins the heart of a parent.
How can you celebrate one of your few this week?