My kids are both amazing. In so many ways - in sometimes very different ways. Sure, they're also sometimes argumentative, sassy, whiney, etc. But that's not the "real" person. The real, true person in each of them is quite amazing. And resilient. And courageous.
Hannah is 7. She's outgoing, creative, and very social. She also has a beautiful voice and loves to sing. The 2nd grade at her school did a performance recently and she was thrilled to be singing on-stage with her peers. She even had a small speaking part where she read off some facts about the Star-Spangled Banner. She did great, made no mistakes, and I was proud of her. I was especially proud remembering the difficult time she's had with her speech over the years. She's come so far!!
But I was even more proud of her the following Sunday in church. Our church has some pretty great music and Hannah loves to sing and praise. But she also has a perfectionist living inside of her that doesn't want to make a mistake. In anything. Oh - we've had some good discussions in the past few years about how everyone makes mistakes, no one is perfect, etc. etc. But I haven't really seen the fruit of those discussions - if she "messes up" and knows it - she's pretty upset about it usually. So anyway, the praise band was singing a song that wasn't quite as familar to our congregation as some. The words were on the screen and the band was doing a great job. But the response of the congregation was not quite as enthusiastic as normal. (They liked the song - they just weren't singing along with gusto since they didn't know it as well). Except for Hannah. She was singing out and enjoying herself. Until there was a pause in the words and Hannah started back before everyone else with a really loud "OHH..." (That was the next word, she just beat everyone else by a second or two). We've all seen it happen before, and for some of us, we've been the one to do it. People giggled, because it was cute. And it was cute. Except that Hannah didn't think so. She laughed at first, but then when she realized *other* people were laughing, she got embarrassed. She turned her head towards me and hid it from everyone else. And she was wiping tears away. I whispered to her that it was okay, no big deal and that other people had done the same thing. I told her I had done the same thing before. She looked at me and said "but I don't want to mess up - I'm embarrased". I quickly reminded her that everyone messes up sometimes, said it's okay to be embarrased, but then move on. Don't spend the rest of the service worried about it. The next song started and it was another not-quite so familiar song. Hannah sat quietly, not singing. I didn't really blame her. Because if it was me, I'd have done the same thing! I don't like to be embarrased either. And while I do normally participate in the music, if I don't know the song, I'm much more cautious. I guess it made me a little sad that she was learning to be cautious, but I understood it.
And then...she took a deep breath and began singing sweetly and loud enough that her voice could be heard at least around where we were sitting. I looked at her and saw that she was enjoying herself again. No fear. Just praise and songs and smiles. The sermon Sunday was great. But the "sermon" that meant the most to me was watching my sweet daughter. That's what I want to be like! To mess up, to cry about it if you must, and then to move on with trust and not fear! Not in music, but in life.