As a mother, one of my goals has always been to empower my children, especially my daughter. When you empower your kids, you help them have a healthy self-esteem and they feel they can follow their dreams. However, this is easier said than done. I’ve learned that the way in which I empower my kids now is very different from what I had imagined it would be. It is important to listen to them and recognize what it is that makes them feel confident and happy.
My daughter, for example, is very artistic and loves music, so I thought that she would love ballet as much as I did. My own mom put me in ballet lessons when I was three years old and I seriously considered being a dancer for a while. Ballet allowed me to enter a different world in which I felt strong enough to express myself through dance.
So when my little girl was three, I eagerly went to register her for her first ballet lessons. In the beginning she loved the ballerina shoes and leotards, but that didn’t last long. I kept insisting, thinking it was just a phase, and believing that my daughter would discover that she loved ballet as much as I did.
After two years of constant battles, I realized that what had empowered me, didn’t work for her. She felt the need to express herself differently, so we explored other kinds of dance classes and she fell in love with Jazz. That was until she discovered something that really captured her.
Since my husband and I thought she had more than enough afterschool activities, we thought she just liked making cartwheels and trying to balance herself on the beam. We registered her for a basic gymnastics class, and she complained it was too easy. She begged for us to speak with the coach and allow her to try out for the team. Then her coach called and said they wanted her to begin competing. When I told Sofia, she burst into the biggest smile and said she wanted to train harder and compete.
That’s when I realized that she felt about gymnastics the way I used to feel about ballet. She feels a sense of elation and achievement, along with pride when the hard work pays off. Every class brings her joy instead of being a chore, and every medal she wins at a competition makes her feel powerful in her own way. As a mom, I couldn’t ask for more.
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