Learning to Stand Out – By Jennifer Laurent

My son is this amazingly confident child who loves to be social, knows what he likes and isn’t afraid to state it. These are qualities that I have long admired in him, as they are qualities that I long struggled with throughout my life. As a child I struggled with confidence, I was shy and often kept my mouth shut. Even as an adult, I continued to be shy and found that I would become silent and uncomfortable rather than put myself out there to make new friends. I have written before about my son being shy and he and I creating a game together of who could be the least shy everyday. Obviously, this game worked wonders. Not only for him, but me as well. This has been a beautiful way in which my boy has taught me to grow and to become a better version of myself.

My little guy has recently fallen in love with baseball and therefore, I find myself taking him to a lot of baseball games. He is very clear about which team he is a fan of, and he is not afraid to show it. See, he is a Padre fan and therefore he dislikes the Dodgers very much. Not a big deal, except that we live in LA and well, the Dodger and Angels games are the games I am able to take him to.

Let me describe to you what a game may look like for us. We head to a Dodger game let’s say, and my son makes sure to be decked out in all his Padre gear. When we sit in the stands he begins chatting with everyone around him, letting them know that he is a Padre fan. As people begin cheering for the Dodgers, my son cheers for the opposing team. He stands up and does this as loudly as his little voice will allow, with a smile on his face and a clear sense of pride in his voice. As “Let’s go Dodgers” rings through our section, it is echoed just as loudly with “Let’s go Padres,” clearly by my son. People begin to turn around, cranking their necks to see where that voice is coming from.

 

Now, I write this because in all honesty, every inch of me wants to sink into the chair I am sitting in while this is happening. I can feel the anxiety rise in my chest and the embarresment begin to take over. My desire to stop him gets bigger and bigger and I truly wish I could disappear. What I know though is that my son is being the confident and passionate boy that he is, and I have no right to take this away from him.

So here is where I am again challenged by my son to become the best version of myself that is possible. See, this is my issue. I am the one who prefers not to stand out, and to find ways to be invisible. I do not like attention being drawn to me and have always preferred to be under the radar. This is a quality that has long bothered me about myself, and I realize I am now being given a tremendous gift by my son to once and for all get over it. My son is again my teacher and I, his student. I sit back, put a smile on my face, sit up tall, and sit next to my son with pride. And guess what, I don’t die!! I get through the discomfort and even more, another beautiful thing begins happening, people use his courage as a way to begin speaking with us and I make new friends.

Each time we go to the game, this experience gets easier and easier for me. Actually, now I quite enjoy it. I also have learned to enjoy putting myself out there in my daily life. I no longer want to be invisible. I want to be just like the confident, passionate, and social boy that I proudly call my son.

 

I encourage us all to take these moments our children offer to us and use them as tools to grow. Receive them as gifts and allow our children to help us to be the best versions of ourselves that we can be. They will thank you and most importantly, you will thank you. Go ahead… try it and let us here at LTTH know how it goes.