As I was tucking my son in bed yesterday, we talked about his morning circle performance. Parents have been invited to watch the Indian Circle which was created in part to celebrate the harvest season and Thanksgiving. Before I go on, let me put you in context. The morning circle is part of the kindergarten routine in the Waldorf school where our children go to. The teacher usually work on what they call a block, a theme, for a certain amount of weeks, and usually the circle can be tailored around that.
During the circle, they stand up, do movements and sing. I am not a Waldorf expert but I know that these circles are targeted in helping the children to be in their body, increasing their gross and fine motor skills, creating in them this feeling of spatial dynamics, musical intelligence etc.
Back to my son’s performance stories. I told him how I noticed his body language was transmitting his nervousness, of course with words that speak to a 6 year old. His feet were constantly on the move, one at a time, his hands were constantly in his pocket, like a security blanket, and just by looking at his eyes, l knew performing in front of parents was challenging to him.
He asked me why the other students were not nervous about it like he was. I suggest that maybe they did not worry about being watched or the excitement to show their parents was too strong to think about getting nervous. He then started to cry because he was sad and disappointed for not being able to show his best to us when we were there and that at tomorrow’s performance, we won’t be able to see his improvement.
My eyes were filled with tears as I could see how heartbreaking this was for him. This is a recurring struggle for my little boy. Whereas my daughter is all about anything new and adventurous, he is more the type to opt out and observe first. Then, when the fun outweigh the perceived risks, he will try. Most of the time, giving him a short pep talk of encouragement while offering my support and staying nearby also work. I can tell that he would often time like to overcome his fears. When he does not, he regrets it later and cry over that missed opportunity.
That is when my husband and I decided to return to the second performance the next day. I know that when I “boost” his self esteem and confidence with some encouraging words or an easy tip, he is all fired up to meet the challenge. We knew that it was crucial for us to be there so he can believe that life is giving second chances.
Gabriel was still nervous about it but not as much as the day before. He participated more in the movement and I could even see him smile (and goofing off with a friend). How he “performs” that day does not matter that much to me. The point was to be there for him when he needs me the most. His father and I were there to witness his leap of faith that he can be courageous enough to try and succeed in his own term.
On that first night pillow talk, I told him that when you base your decision out of fear you will miss out on a lot of fun life experiences. “It does not mean you have to try everything”, I told him. But when it looks like fun, it is worth trying.
So this week, my son took a step back, looked at his challenges and decided to move forward by facing his fear. How often as adult do we take the time to asses why we do the things we do and questions our thoughts? While reading that article, did this trigger a memory of a personal experience where you faced your fear? Or when you did not? i would like you to share how your personal life experience shape you as a parent. I am inviting you to write down any comments below so we can start a conversation.