I Celebrate My Kids’ Successes — and Their Misses

The score was 19–16. There were 18 seconds to go, and our team had the ball. The point guard dribbled up the sideline and saw you wide open on the three-point line. You caught the ball, squared up, and took the shot…and missed.

Game over.

We lost, and I have never been so proud of you: Liliana, my 11-year-old daughter.

Winning is fun, but the effort invested is exhilarating

I never care if you make a shot, score a goal, or win the game. It does not matter if you make an “A” on your test or if you perform a perfect pirouette.

I care if you practice. I want you to earn it. I want you to be courageous, to commit to your goal, and “go for it” regardless of the outcome. Receiving a trophy feels great, but earning the trophy stays with you forever.

I saw a young girl who was fearless when you took that shot. You were ready to take a risk and to be the master of your own destiny.

Watching Self-Confidence Blossom

The maturation of self-confidence is a critical developmental step for children. Extracurricular activities teach kids to trust them self and their skills. Confidence stems from competence. Competence evolves from practice and repetition.

What does it take to transition from competence to confidence?

We must be willing to do what others are not. Get up early. Stay up late. Study your flashcards. Memorize your multiplication tables. Shoot your free throws. Repeat the dance steps.

Prepare. Study. Practice.

Do it because it is important to YOU.

“Today I will do what others won’t, so tomorrow I can accomplish what others can’t.” Jerry Rice

I am glad you missed your first “game on the line” shot

You learned grit. Success comes from tenacious work and tremendous effort over a long time. Inevitable failures are part of the process. Achievement requires grueling persistence and patience. Thomas Edison famously tried 10,000 times before successfully inventing the light bulb. His explanation perfectly expresses the perseverance needed to achieve success when he said, “I have not failed. I have found 9,999 ways that don’t work.”

Our journey changes us

We all set goals and work to get to the finish line. While running the race, we miss the most important lesson. It does not really matter if we reach the end. The lessons we learn along the way are what impacts our lives. Along the path, we grow, and we evolve. We become better versions of ourselves. The person we become is worth more than any medal someone else could hang around our neck.

“What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals.” Henry David Thoreau

Your biggest fan

I will always be my children’s biggest cheerleader. I express my unconditional love watching them in sports, music, dance, and academics. I never want my children to feel pressured to win. I want them to find their passion and have the tenacity to fulfill it. The outcome is irrelevant.

When the game ended, I approaching Liliana. Expecting her to be upset, I said “Tough loss, but you know that was the right shot, right?” Liliana looked up with a proud, confident grin and said, “Yeah, I know.”

Thank you to P.S. I Love You for publishing this article on Medium.

By: Dr. Jeff Livingston

Blog Photo by: Vince Fleming on Unsplash

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