My opening line to these moms was…Only You Can Be You! I then had them turn to someone and say… ”Only You Can Be You.” Some did it with more excitement than others, but the purpose of the exercise was to remind them that they have the ability every day to use their words to encourage and empower their kids to BE everything they were meant to be. I then had them look at their “thumb prints” and remind them that no one in the world has the same one. I then talked about all of those new “DNA” tests and how each person has different DNA. This is why homeland security uses finger prints and DNA to find people.
I told them about a book I had read many years ago called Pinocchio Parenting: 21 lies we tell our kids. The first one in the book was…You can be anything you want to be! Yes, I realize that every parent says this to encourage their kids to try new things, which is good. I know I did. However, as parents we must help our kids realize and reach their full potential or friends, coaches, teachers or the world will. I also shared with them that because we can only be who we are, then we have to STOP putting so much pressure on our kids to be someone they aren’t.
I told them I learned this the hard way with my older daughter Shaya. As I shared last week I love sports…I played team sports and to some level was pretty good. When Shaya was younger, she played soccer and looking back, I put way too much pressure on her to be better than others. I know my words and my body language conveyed…”You can do better”. The really sad part was I found myself comparing Shaya to other kids. Dang that one hurts the most…I was trying to make her someone one she wasn’t. Like I shared last week, these posts will be “real and raw”.
Then one day after the last game of the season we were driving home, and from the back seat of the car I heard… “Dad I don’t want to play soccer anymore.” I could tell by her eyes she wasn’t having fun, so I said “sure, you want to try basketball?” Basketball was my go to sport so I really hoped she would say “yes”. Here I go again…trying to hint to her what the “right” sport was for her. Shaya asked if she could try the swim team with a friend from school. I quickly reflected that my wife excelled in swimming in HS, so I said…“Go for it”. Long story short, Shaya excelled at swimming and it gave her great confidence.
Shaya is now 21 and beautiful on the inside and outside. I’m blessed to be her daddy too.
I told the “moms” three of the greatest ways to help your kids realize and reach their potential are:
1) Realize they are 100% unique & special
2) Don’t compare your kids to others
3) Get out of the way
While this topic could be seen as “for parents”, I believe with all of my heart it applies to anyone. You and I need to realize we are also 100% unique and special. You and I have to stop comparing ourselves to others. You and I need to get any negative statements that have been said to us over the years “out of our minds”.
Friends, YOU ARE special!! You have purpose! You have meaning! And just like our kids, YOU deserve to realize and reach your full potential no matter your age.
Remember…ONLY YOU CAN BE YOU!!!