Opinions are Like….well, you know…and everyone has one.
On any given weekends, there are hundreds of thousands of girls who wake up early enough to see the sun (and they don’t have to), get dressed in itchy softball pants, endure nagging from their parents who unwittingly lose their weekends and end up spending too much money on food and waters and necessities to fill a cooler in order to watch their beloved play softball. This is a beautiful thing!
The growth of this sport is amazing and wonderful. One of the best things that parents can do, is keep their girls involved in wholesome, healthy activities that spike self-confidence and keep them away from trouble.
Come any given Monday (or weekday) however, our inbox is afloat with emails from saddened, hurt, angry, worried, disappointed fans who feel that somehow, someway, in some light – their daughter was cheated. And throughout the week, we get emails that seem to share the sentiment in other areas of a young girls softball life.
“Pitching coach says my daughter is not good enough to pitch 16U and is changing everything she does.”
“My daughters team is full of politics and it is affecting her self-worth.”
“High school coach won’t play my daughter.”
“Coach won’t let my daughter catch, and its breaking her self-confidence.”
“My daughter didn’t get on varsity and all her friends did, and she is devastated.”
“My daughter wants to quit because she feels like she is not good enough because she’s had some horrible experiences with coaches lately.”
“My daughter’s feelings are hurt because she didn’t get much playing time last weekend.”
Okay, you get the point. Today, we just want to share something with you. We want you to hear this.
Everyone, and we MEAN everyone, in the fastpitch softball community – from the kids on the field, to the coaches, parents, and fans on the bleachers, to the umpires – has an opinion of how things should go.
They also have an opinion of YOUR DAUGHTER! (OR you – if you are the player). Some folks will think your daughter is awesome, and others won’t. Some will think she’s doing awesome, and others will see a zillion things to change. Some people will try to help and others will try to hurt (with words or actions). Some people will LIKE YOU and your kid, and by the inherent nature of humanity, some won’t. Your kid will spend the rest of their lives dealing with people who believe in them and people who don’t. Which ones they choose to align with, well – that’s a CHOICE.
And you know what? Who gives a flying flip what other people think? Seriously!!! WHO CARES?
The only – ONLY opinion that matters is the one that your daughter carries in her heart. THE ONLY opinion that needs to be changed or worked on, or given thought to – is the opinion your daughter has of herself. And the only person that has to believe in her is HER!
The only person who can DECIDE what your daughter can achieve in her life is HER! She can hear and listen to what other people have to say – LEARN from it, improve herself and move on. But that doesn’t mean she has to stop and pay attention to every naysayer in the world. And it certainly doesn’t mean that we as parents should purport the effort to make our children into victims.
We have to use these moments as teaching moments. We have to teach our daughters to block out the noise, and to keep the faith they have in themselves in their heart first and foremost and forefront. THAT, should be our #1 goal.
When someone does them wrong, instead of coddling them and making excuses…ask them what in the heck they are gonna do about it? Are they gonna lay down and quit, or are they just going to persevere? Are they going to spend their lives trying to PROVE themselves to someone who doesn’t really matter, or are they going to keep on working hard, and achieve and succeed anyways. Not in spite, but despite….
We have to toughen their spirits to be able to take criticism and disappointment and STOP trying to fix every damn thing for them.
If they don’t get to play their favorite position, light a fire under their butts and teach them to work harder and continue believing in themselves. If they feel they have been slighted by a coach, or parent or fellow player – teach them how to work through it with tenacity and INTEGRITY and rise above for goodness sakes. If someone tells them they aren’t good enough, or mis-treats them, show them how to muffle the noise so that it doesn’t cloud their hearts with doubt, but fuels them with even more will to succeed.
When they get in the real world, which no matter how hard we try to shelter them from, is certain to come – they won’t be able to use excuses, or hurt feelings, lean on mama and daddy’s shoulder and cry and give up. They won’t be able to just quit jobs because they feel slighted, or complain to teachers about grades, or be offended all the time because they think people just don’t like them. “Not fair,” will not be an excuse. Politics will happen. And we have to show them, teach them, that they can succeed anyways!
We understand first hand, having 4 daughters, that no parent likes to see their child hurting or sad. We understand the urge to fix and try to find a niche where someone else in this world sees our kid in the same light as we do. Thing is, no one else ever will. And we have to pass on the strength and insight and beauty, and belief that WE HAVE in our daughters, on to them….
It is our job, our duty. And the WONDERFUL THING IS THAT fastpitch softball world is the perfect venue to do JUST THAT!
Playing sports, being competitive, teaches them about life! Sure they learn how to field a ground ball…but they also learn a zillion other things IF WE LET THEM, that will secure their success in life.
Believing makes it so. When you teach a child to believe in themselves, and empower them with possibility and tools to achieve their goals, YOU GIVE THEM WINGS. And you give them the ability to drown out the useless opinions of others, because the ONLY opinion that will matter, that will resonate, is the one they have of themselves.
Bottom line! A girl who believes in herself is a hard girl to beat.