" You miss 100% of the shots you don't take"
From the time my boys were little I couldn't imagine them being ready to take on this world, even in little chunks. But I knew that my job was to make sure that I prepared them to be on their own, accept failure ,and humbly enjoy success.
My oldest son just turned 15 ( yesterday) and I've watched him make huge progress, big mistakes, and fail undoubtedly more than he has won. Through the years your children grow, learn, aand djust. But so do you, you need to know that each stage isn't the same, sometimes they need that tough shot of reality and sometimes they need you to just listen and not react. One thing I make sure I do, is when they fail I do not step in to fix-it. I of course comfort them to a point. But I let them sit in that failure, thinking about why and what happen. I hate seeming the disappointment in their eyes but I know all successful people have their story of failure that gave them that next step to success. It changes everything for them. And I'm not going to step in the way of that for my boys.
I find myself in a small pool of parents. I give my teen a lot of freedom. A lot of opportunity to fail and make mistakes. I want my kids to fail. Because I want to see them pick themselves up and overcome that and watch them take on their own success.
Last week my 15 year old had his Basktball Play Off games for his summer league. He loves basketball, he lives it. This league is different than others he has played on. Its a 9th-12th grade league. Such a huge difference in age, height, skill ,and experience. My son is by far the shortest and youngest on the team. For the past 6 games of the league he has not shot one basket, his coach has kept him on the bench for most the games because he doesnt believe he is at the skill level as the other players. The last game he was frustrated and discourage and didn't want to keep doing this to himself. He told me that maybe he just isn't cut out for him, he loves the game but maybe he just doesn't have what it takes. I obviously told him that wasn't true but said if he really wants it he will work for it. He will go out every day to the basketball hoop and shoot until he can't.
So the night of the playoffs, he came to me an hour before the game and said Im done, I don't want to play, I am so embarrassed and I don't even help the team. My response was tough, short, and to the point. I said that his experience of failing is more important than being the star. I asked him if he knew Thomas Edison failed over 10,000 times before getting the right filament for the light blub. And if he sat here self-loathing we most likely would live a different life without light blub. But because he pushed forward he succeeded. I told him to grab his shit for the game and get out the door. He was pissed and mad and the teen attitude was on full display. He wouldn't talk or look at me.
As I sat there and watched him play, he was making bad passes, traveling the ball, and getting fouled out. He looked up at me and I just made eye contact with him and said you got this. He put his head down in defeat. The whistle blew and he ran down the court and turned to catch a pass. Like in a slow-motion movie, he pivots, steps back, and shoots over the 6ft tall kid in front of him. And shoosh he made it! The crowd cheers, and he looked back at me and smiled. That was it, he did it for him and knew at that moment he wouldn't give basketball up just because of a few bad games.