I think it was the summer of last year that my husband and I began talking about what kind of extracurricular activities to get our daughters involved in. Now, I don't know about your family, but in ours, we have two daughters who are almost complete opposites in every way. One is very shy, and it almost appears to be painful for her to speak even to some of our closest friends and family. Then there's the other one...:) Loud, funny, outgoing, wild and wonderful! We still have no idea where she came from ;)
Why am I telling you all of this? There is a point, I promise, so bear with me.
Well, as we talked about all of the different possibilities, the favorite activity quickly became dance. Oh, they were so excited! My husband and I were hesitant, at least as far as our little wallflower was concerned.
I began to try to convince her to try something else. "Honey", I said,"You know that you have to perform in a recital in front of LOTS of people, why not try an art class instead?" But she was adamant. Dance was what she wanted, and that was that. We signed her up.
Guess what happened?
She LOVES dance! Not only did she manage to perform in the recital at the end of the year in the auditorium of our local high school, she was giddy with the excitement of it all. She decided very soon after that, when she grows up, she is going to be a dance teacher. And that sweet little thing grew in her excitement when she found out that she will actually get paid real money to teach. (She thought she might have to pay to teach dance.)
I have to say that I am surprised. But, I am so glad that my husband and I did not try to put our little girl in a box and decide for her what she is and is not capable of. What she, and we for that matter, would have missed out on! Ironically, I was about to do the very thing that I hate to have done to me. I can't stand when people decide that I'm only good for _____ (fill in the blank).
You know what else? These classes have built her confidence, her coordination, and her social skills.
So, how are we encouraging her in this pursuit? Well, she's still very young, and it is likely that she will change her mind at least once or twice before she reaches adulthood. But, this little experience has shown us that we need to let our children try on different things and see how they work, what they feel like, and see in what areas the Lord has gifted them.
Whatever our kids choose to do, my hope is that they will always feel that their parents always stood behind them, and allowed them the freedom to try, and yes, even fail, as they figured out the path that God has planned for them.