Rebecca so eloquently talked about all the pressure our girls face today to be perfect. Her entry & the song she shared left me with tears in my eyes & a broken heart for so much of what I see today. Beautiful young girls who are inundated daily with so much media & pressure to perform-- & its not just with physical appearance either....the pressure in sports & other activities seems to have also gone over the top. They can't just be an average athlete competing in several sports anymore. From a very young age, children are expected to be the best at whatever they do. To be the best requires focus on one sport or one activity. From private lessons all the way to multiple extended long practices weekly-- it just never lets up.
My oldest will be in a pageant this weekend. She has spent countless hours raising money, preparing her bio, preparing for her interview, having her gown fitted & altered, etc. This is her school's largest fund raiser & she's having a ball! She will be beautiful. I will be so proud of her (as I am all my girls) but especially Saturday night. No matter what the outcome I pray she feels special . She feels celebrated. She feels beautiful.
But lately she's just been exhausted. She leaves from school each day for cheer practice followed by practice for the pageant. Cheerleading, which incidentally is coached by someone who seems to never compliment these girls or give them praise. I asked one of the cheer moms why this coach was always this way. She so quickly replied matter of factly that the girls will rise to the challenge & perform better. Oh please! I couldn't disagree more. Yes I think there should be expectations & the challenge to improve. But give me a break. These girls are giving 100%. An occasional "atta girl" would be great.
My prayer is that my girls feel accepted & loved. That they have a solid foundation both at home & at church. But I also know that is easier said than done. One of my girls has a precious friend who currently is struggling with depression. She is gorgeous. She is smart. She is kind & sweet. She is in a great school & in a great church . She has parents who love her. But yet we all know those things don't always bring happiness. It breaks my heart to hear her think she isn't pretty enough or popular enough.
My Madison is dancing with a new ballet school, a wonderful school with great success. They are currently preparing for the Nutcracker & they do indeed put on a spectacular production. However, she is expected to attend practice 7 times in 6 days for the next several weeks. What is a mom to do? She loves to dance. She would live there if she could. She has long wanted the opportunity to have more stage presence. But as a mom I have to be careful for her and make sure she is doing what she loves -not what she feels she has to do to please me or anyone else. I want them to experience success from the talents they've been given....just worry sometimes about the cost.
Sometimes I wish we lived in a smaller community. But would that really change things? I think not. I know the Lord has us right where he wants us. My girls are happy & love all the opportunities that are afforded in a large school. My commitment to them is to shepherd their hearts. To fill those tanks up at home as much as I can so they don't go looking for that elsewhere. To make sure they know that I'm as proud of them if they chose to be a homebody with me or if they are the princess of the pageant.
It might sound like a contradiction talking about my girls level of involvement and at the same time expressing my concern for all the pressure they face. What I hope is to find balance in this world we live. Encourage them in areas they are gifted yet also trying to maintain a level of grace & contentment while we figure it all out!
Its probably easy to see a family who chooses to have different schedules/priorities & think you'd do it differently. I hope I don't criticize those who are involved in even more than my family is.... & as much as I 'm not a fan of Hillary, I think she said it right....