Sunday, 20 November 2011

Facing Your Fears

A month ago we got a note home from school with the details for Jacks yearly musical extravaganza. Whilst I was talking to him about what they were doing he said intently "mumma, I really really don't want to do it". He went on to talk about the fact that he didn't want to dress up because the costume was wearing all black and then wearing red underpants over the top of his clothes.
Jack spent the first 4 years of his life almost constantly naked. But as he has gotten older he has become quite a private boy when it comes to his body.
He was completely beside himself at the idea of having to wear his knickers in front of the whole school (and honestly, who can blame him). So I approached the teacher and she agreed it was a bit uncool and spoke to the music teacher and the costume was changed to red shorts or skirts over black.
Great I though, now he can enjoy doing his concert. But alas! He was still concerned. I talked further with him about why, but in true Jack way (or perhaps it's a six year old boy way) he couldn't put his finger on why, sometimes it was that he couldn't remember the song, other times it was that he didn't know what shoes to wear, once it was because he was tired (two weeks before) and on it went. Finally I got it! He was nervous about getting up on stage and performing.
He is actually great at public speaking and gets very positive feed back on his speeches and class presentations but this was different, this was singing and dancing (and as it turned out, playing maracas) in front of half the school and he was freaking out.
Again in true Jack style, once it was pointed out that the whole class was performing he stopped trying to find ways to not do it because he didn't want to let the class down. But there was no way he was going he was going to embrace it!
The afternoon of the performance Jack was beside himself trying to figure out exactly what he wanted to wear. He changed pants twice, shoes three times, and spent a record amount of time in front of the mirror fiddling with his hair.
Finally we rocked into school, ate sausages and waited for the extravaganza to start. Jack had chilled out but gave me an extra long cuddle as I went to leave him to get ready. I could feel how nervous he was. The energy around him was positively electric. And I watched him with such pride, I mean there was no asking not to do it or clinging to my leg. Just a little boy making a decision to do something even though the idea of it scared him.
The performance was ... cute, as all kids singing and dancing are. Jack started slowly and then caught my eye and grinned. Together, Hamish and I standing at the side of the hall and Jack on stage, we grinned, danced, sang and shook our maracas. He didn't take his eyes off Hamish and I and sweetly, I realised he was trying extra hard because we were watching and loving him doing it.
Later that night as he lay in bed, I asked him how he felt about the extravaganza. He was quiet and then he said "you know mumma, I really didn't want to do the music extravaganza. I was scared to get up on stage, but I had a lot of fun! I'm so glad I did it".
And so once again my kids have taught me a life lesson. Some of the best things in life come from being scared and doing it anyway. And you know what! if a six year old boy can do it .... What's stopping me? Or you? Or anyone?
So next time I think of not doing something because it's out of my comfort zone, I'm going to have to remember Jack and the music extravaganza. Because goodness knows I can't possibly be outdone by my six year old .... although sometimes I wonder if I already have been, and if that's not part of the point of good parenting anyway.
Watching - It's zombie season once again, Season 2 of the walking dead.
Listening - Triple J whilst painting.
Reading - I have not picked up anything in days.
State of mind - Tonight I'm very tired but quietly content.

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