I feel fortunate enough to be raising four individual, unique, funny, confident kids. They naturally march to the beat of their own drum and ooze the confidence I wish I had when I was their age—heck, I wish I had it now! There’s so much I want them to learn, but advocating for themselves is a big one. Going beyond just feeling confident, I know it’s so important that our kids learn to stand up for themselves, take risks, and always bet on their abilities. Recently, our girl Dylan did just that and it inspired me beyond belief. I wanted to share more about it!
Defining Herself Through Dance
Dylan was the first dancer in our family. She was the one that originally inspired Brody to start dancing! She started taking classes when she was just two years old and progressed to a dance team where she’s been competing for the past five years. You won’t find a girl more dedicated to dance than Dylan—she lives, breathes, and loves it. And it just seems to come naturally to her. Yes, she has to work hard at it, but it’s easy work when you love what you’re doing and are having fun! Dance can be such a competitive sport, but I’ve seen her mature and grow so much in these past five years. She can handle criticism, celebrate her wins, and still walk away proud with her losses.
Recently, she kind of took a step back and assessed what her next steps were going to be. She wasn’t moving up where she was and felt like she was staying stagnant at one level. There are so many kids (and adults) that would just stay there, mope, or get themselves stuck in a rut. I was really so impressed when she started talking to me about wanting to explore other options. She had a choice to make: to stay where she was, where she was comfortable, or start expanding her horizons.
I’d say it’s tough for any kid to be confident enough to go against the grain, but I think it’s especially true for girls. We’ve been programmed to stay within the safe parameters of society’s box, full of expectations of what we should/shouldn’t do. I’ve always tried to lead by example, showing Dylan that it’s okay to want more and it’s good to be passionate in your pursuit of what you want.
This all kind of compounded over this past year when she decided to quit the dance studio she was at and try out for a new dance team. Was it unbelievably hard for her? Yes. My girl is so bold onstage but offstage, she can be shy! It was hard to start new with a new group of girls, a new teacher, and new surroundings. But over the past few months, I’ve seen her slowly come out of her shell and make the most of this situation. In true Dylan fashion, she worked her butt off all summer, taking classes to improve her technique and expand her dancing skills all leading up to a grueling audition week. Sure enough, she made the team.
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Refusing to Settle
Even if she hadn’t made the team, I’d still be so immensely proud of her. She wasn’t happy with where she was, so she decided not to settle. She tried something new and just kept going until she got what she wanted. When you see your kids passionate about something, you want to do everything you can to continue to foster that passion. It’s important for us to raise our kids to work hard and be specific with their goals. I want them to know how great it feels when they achieve something they set their mind to!
Seeing her confidence just skyrocket has been so rewarding. It’s so easy to be complacent. As uncomfortable as it is, getting Dylan to push herself ended up being the right move in the long run. Now, she’s focused on exploring her new environment and, of course, thinking up new dreams to make happen.
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Additional Photo Credit Ava Cantrell