Have I mentioned that Dress-up days, Spirit Days we call some of them, are not my favorites? Why yes, yes I have. I believe one of those occasions was Twin Day just last year when our youngest, in her second attempt at twinning, showed up at school as Thing 1 without a Thing 2 (Thing 2 was a no show).
Rylie was up at four-something this morning creating her Extreme Black and Gold outfit.
Our other two children took after a certain parent when it came to their spiritedness around Halloween, Homecoming and Drug Awareness Week. Besides the time our oldest had the idea to be a Bubble-Wrap Mummy for Halloween, Hayden (and Hallie) are kind of party poopers like their dad.
Me? I’m not fully a party pooper. Something else holds me back from costumed glory...good old fear. What if people don't understand, or approve of, my efforts? What if I don't get it right?
You know the saying, If you can’t beat em’ join em’?
Well my life motto is slightly modified...If you can’t beat em’, don’t participate. And so I've spent much of my lifetime being safe; not attempting much of anything that wasn’t easy or natural-seeming. I didn’t dance at prom (besides maybe a coerced two-step. Baby, in my case, was happy to be in the corner.
Spirit Week isn’t easy for some (and I’m not talking about for the parents who are begged to buy colored tutus or are sent on a mission to find that must-have purple shirt). Spirit Week isn’t always easy for the kids. Your kid’s idea of a nerd costume may not fit in with with what others believe is nerd material. On Disney Day, it may not be easy when your daughter's friends dress up like group characters. She's Snow White at a lunch table with the Toy Story crew who forgot to include her in the plan. For someone battling insecurity (thus most middle schoolers), it can be a mild reminder that she doesn’t fit in.
So here’s to you party pooper and scaredy-cat moms... Work with her, encourage her to dress out, to try some things that make her afraid, the things she knows might possibly highlight her inability to be like those who win the contests...those who make the team.
Remind her perfection isn’t what’s important. Determination is. Creativity is. Individuality is.
Not taking life too seriously is vital too. Don't forget your role in teaching her that.
She won’t always feel successful. Thankfully, true success isn’t defined by our peers or popular opinion. Our kids will grow (the kind of of growth that’s important) from failing, from being rejected, not winning the prize. They’ll learn from their mistakes. They’ll learn from the mistakes of others.
The lesson isn’t in the winning or in being picked favorite or best. Growth comes from the process of trying and trying again, all the while knowing they’re loved by us in every win and fail.
Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:4
So there's a new book where you can read about this struggle stuff and how it's a necessary part of all beautiful stories. You can get it here!