My son is trying out for the school basketball team. He's in the 8th grade, has played basketball for 7 years, off an on, for different leagues. He is nearly 6 feet tall, skinny as a rail, and the kid can play. I know, I'm his mother, but I really wouldn't encourage him as much as I do unless I knew he had skills.
So he made the first round of cuts. And as I waited in the school parking lot for him to come out of the gym, my stomach did flips and I found myself chewing on my nails. But he made it through. One more round of cuts to go.
I think I'm driving him nuts with the "It's okay if you don't make it, honey. We are so proud of you for getting this far," and the "Just try out as though you're already on the team. Be confident," and the "Don't let anything stop you. Just do your best. Don't give up..."
Okay, I KNOW I'm driving him nuts because he did the "Yah, Yah, Mom, I know. You told me a hundred times already."
When I hear myself encourage him to "go for it" and "never give up," I feel a certain sense of hypocricy. DO I believe in him. Oh, absolutely. But I wonder if I "walk the walk," with my own life dreams and passions.
As a writer, I talk the talk. I share tips with other writers, words of encouragement, and I write. But do I believe completely in my own skills? Not always. Not enough.
Where my son sees his competition -- the kid that can dribble like a pro -- and automatically starts to doubt his own abilities as a player, I read an article published by a fellow writer and automatically compare my own writing to theirs -- and in those moments, I don't feel quite good enough to be part of their team.
So the final cuts may be announced today, and if he doesn't make the team, I will be right there encouraging him to keep practicing, try again next year, never give up. And maybe those words will inspire my inner voice (the nasty wench that she is) to be a little easier on me.