My nearly eight-year-old daughter has taught me more about being brave than I have learned in nearly 37 years of life.
I’ve heard the phrase, “do it scared” before, but I didn’t fully appreciate what that meant, and the power of doing it scared until now.
Back in January, Cassidy brought home the list of after school specials for spring. We went through as always to decide which ones she could attend. The last one on the sheet was a try-out for the school talent show. Cassidy insisted she wanted to sign up for that one as well.
I asked what her talent would be, and she didn’t know, but she wanted to sign up for it. We decided to let her sign up and knew we had four months for her to figure out an act or back out of the event. Honestly, I didn’t think there was any chance she would do the try-out when it came time to do it.
I am by no means saying my daughter is not talented because she most certainly is. However, her talents are not the sort that can be easily demonstrated on a stage.
We talked about a few options she could do, but I had concerns with all of them. Cassidy is a very sensitive child. She doesn’t mind the attention, but her feelings can get hurt very easily. She just feels so strongly. It makes her the most empathetic person I know, which is great. However, as a mom, I’m constantly trying to protect her feelings. You can’t even tell a funny story that involves her because she thinks you’re laughing at her instead of at the situation or circumstances. She has a hard time differentiating laughter with her versus at her.
As a mom, my concern was how she would do being on stage in front of her whole school and what if people laughed. I wanted to protect her. Then she and Brian started to work on her routine.
You’ll never guess what it was going to be.
The girl who doesn’t want people to laugh at her was going to purposely get people to laugh at her.
I gave her so many opportunities to back out if she wanted. A couple of weeks before the try-out I told her she didn’t have to do it. We were proud of her either way, and I explained that everyone would be watching her and hopefully laughing at her jokes.
She said she knew and she NEEDED to do it.
“Mom, I need to try out for the talent show. If I don’t, it’s going to ruin my summer. I’m going to be regretting all summer that I didn’t do it and I’m not going to have a fun summer. During all of our vacations even something that might make me happy I’ll still be sad.
Well, those words sure put me in my place.
She knew more about the importance of “doing it scared” and being brave than I did.
She had obviously spent some time building herself up to this challenge and didn’t want to let herself down.
So I did what any good mom would do and didn’t doubt her. I helped her practice her set. I formatted the joke document as she wanted – extra spaces in certain spots, etc., and I didn’t critique – too much.
We did have to remind her to slow down, a risk every public speaker runs. Brian, the fastest talker I know, shared that when he was a lawyer, he had to write on his notes “slow” so he would remember to talk slowly in front of a jury.
She took this advice and worked on her routine.
On the day of the try-outs, she came bouncing down the stairs in a new shirt. When I read it, I knew it was perfect.
She hadn’t selected that shirt on purpose, but once I pointed out what it said she agree it was perfect. I told her to read the shirt before she did her try out because it would remind her she could do it.
Try-outs went very well, according to Cassidy, and she was selected to perform in the talent show. As Cassidy put it, “Mom, everyone gets to perform!”
The talent show was set for the last dy of school at the end of the day.
On the day of the show she was understandably nervous, but also excited.
We arrived at the talent show early, so we were able to wish her luck one more time and give hugs. She was set to be the second act of the show, which turned out to be the first one.
My little girl got up in front of hundreds of students, teachers, and parents and she rocked it. She did better than I had ever seen her perform the set in practice.
The most impressive thing to me was her confidence in front of everyone.
She had everyone laughing, and she didn’t talk too fast. I was beaming with pride as I watched her.
My daughter did it scared, and she was amazing.
But more importantly she did it for herself, and she can be proud of who she is.
The next time the opportunity presents itself I’m going to do it scared and remember what Cassidy taught me about being brave.
What have you done scared?