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Ordinary People Taking Action
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Writing is a tricky thing. I am beginning to believe that all writers go through several phases of thinking, and therefore believing, they are not good enough. It’s a feeling I often get when I read over an article of mine. Then this morning, a colleague reached out for advice on how to get started writing more – and added that he thought my articles were really good. Perspective shift.
In writing these articles, I consistently balance my commitment to maintaining the privacy of others and sheltering a bit of myself – my family, my life. There is some measure of vulnerability in sharing personal stories. That said, today I am choosing to write about experiences with my family over the last week, as I think many will be able to relate.
Last Thursday, we found a Mama raccoon and her babies living in our chimney box. Within minutes, we, really my husband, learned just how aggressive Mama raccoons can be. We never knew they growled and hissed and barked. We learned quickly that Mama would take care of her babies – at all costs. I immediately started researching raccoons online and making phone calls. Our desire was to help Mama leave on her own, with her babies, so that they didn’t need to be euthanized. Countless hours of research and phone calls led to a wildlife specialist and an exterminator coming to our home. Despite this effort, a post misunderstood on social media led to several people saying that we weren’t doing enough to help Mama and her babies. There it is, that sinking feeling of not being good enough.
Also on Thursday, our son learned he didn’t make the soccer team he’d tried out for. He has a four-year history playing soccer with this league, yet he’s being cut from the “A team” for next season. The message our son received is this: you are great, but not great enough. There is a lot more to this story, but what it comes down to is this: our son is enough, more than enough. He will be just fine on the new team – and in many ways, better. He will realize this too, in time.
Then, yesterday, a perspective shift happened in a way that we least expected – from our daughter. When our daughter was just a baby, she had a nanny who would take her to the dance studio where she worked. Through this, our daughter developed a love for dance, and last year, she tried out for the elite dance team. She didn’t make it. This experience triggered something inside of her, and she wanted it even more, so she continued with dance and joined the cheerleading team – to have more time practicing outside the dance studio. Not making the team never really got her down, and I appreciate her resilience even more in hindsight.
Yesterday, she learned that her dance studio is starting a new dance team. It’s a team for the girls who are beyond the level of “recreation” dance and not quite good enough (there is that phrase again) for the elite team. Our daughter was referred by her teacher, so she will be on a team this year. This is what shifted in our house: our daughter is so excited to be a part of a team – any team. And, still motivated to go to audition to try for the elite team.
She told me that it’s never about the feeling of being “good enough”. It’s about wanting to be a part of a team – to do what she loves. She explained to me that she doesn’t even understand why the soccer team is such a big deal – it’s a silly letter at the beginning of the word “team”. A team, B team – whatever team. She believes there are many kids in soccer who feel like she does with dance. The uniform is enough for most – the opportunity is enough for most.
Regarding her brother, she says that she wishes he would stop letting other people determine his feelings about how good he is. That he should stay confident; she says she thinks he doesn’t always see it because of the silly team placement, but he is way better than good enough. Powerful words from a 12-year-old.
She had a smile on her face all evening about the dance team referral. For a team that isn’t the most elite team, but the team that is solidly a great option for her. A team that she doesn't see as less than. She also said, “Mom, you and Dad did everything possible for those raccoons – you even got them to leave on their own, without killing them. That is definitely better than good enough. That is great.”
I try to always listen to advice, feedback and coaching from people around me. Yet, sometimes I forget the people around me who might have the best perspective ever are our children.
Today, my wish is that we all celebrate whatever team we are on – whatever we are doing. Stay grounded that you truly are good enough. And, often, good is all you need to be enough. Truly all you need.