The following post is shared by Lunchbox Love® Mom Panel Leader Heather Reinhard.
My son is the kind of kid that wears his heart on his sleeve. I suppose you could say he received the gene that shows every emotion all over his face, even when he tries to conceal it. So when he walked out of basketball practice with sadness in his eyes, I knew something happened.
He didn’t speak a word about it at first. Once we reached the car, he slowly opened the door, climbed inside and solemnly looked out the window. As we drove away, he began to ask some questions.
“Mom, how come I’m not good at basketball? Why does it come easy for all of those other kids? Why is it every time I shoot the ball toward the basket, it just never goes in? Why can’t I be like the other kids on my team?”
As a parent, it was hard to hear those words; words of discouragement – words that demonstrate sheer obstacles and feelings of melancholy.
I told him not everyone is good at something on the first try. I shared tons of relevant life experiences and the old adage of how “practice makes perfect.” More importantly, we talked about the significance of not giving up.
“But Mom, I feel like giving up. The more I try, the harder it seems for me. And no matter how much effort I put into it each week, I feel like I’m just not good enough.”
As we continued to drive home, I shared another secret with my son. I described a time in my life when I was his age and fell upon the same kind of stumbling block. I entered a sport where other kids were light years ahead of me – but none of that stopped me. It actually made me want to work harder.
We all make mistakes, nobody is perfect. And we’re certainly not going to be the very best at everything we do – so the trick is to find an activity that we are super passionate about and work hard toward attaining some of those goals.
In preparation for the next basketball practice, I told my son to focus on his strengths. For example, he is great at defending the ball so he should focus energy on building this skill while practicing dribbling and throwing the ball into the basket. Eventually with hours of effort and hard work, he’ll learn to construct those weaknesses and turn them into strengths.
By keeping a positive attitude and not giving up, I am hoping he sees the importance of sticking to something he started regardless of how hard it may seem in the process. There are many cards from Lunchbox Love® that express this exact sentiment.
Perhaps my son will remember our conversation in the car about not giving up – especially the next time he throws a basket and scores.