It Comes From Within…

My favorite teenager started playing basketball in a local youth recreation program as a fourth grader.  During her first game, she was a timid shadow on the court and I am pretty sure that she never touched the ball.  Her fear of fouling and lack of confidence caused her to choose to not engage on the court.

My favorite teenager at age 10...

My favorite teenager at age 10…

I believe in the power of positive reinforcement and have a rule that after each one of my girls’ sporting activities, Matt and I always compliment them on something that they did well.  I’ll never forget the look on Matt’s face as he visibly struggled to find something positive to say to Ashley Grace after that game.

Matt ended up placing a bet with our little 10 year old basketball protégé knowing that, given her personality, it would be an effective catalyst for positive change.

He bet that she couldn’t make a foul in the next game.  When she proved us wrong (and made a foul) we went to Dairy Queen as a family after the game for ice cream.  That first foul was the beginning of a new era as Ashley Grace learned that in order to be successful, you have to engage.  Mistakes will surely be made, but in the end engagement is the key.

A few years later, looking for a good shot...

A few years later, looking for a good shot…

Over the years, we have watched our daughter turn into a very good defensive player.  Today, she is often given the job of guarding players much larger than herself because her quickness and persistence make her incredibly effective at shutting them down.  She has learned that no matter what obstacle is placed in her path, success is something that comes from within. 

The girl in maroon is just slightly bigger than my favorite #32...

The girl in maroon is just slightly bigger than my favorite #32…

Her days of non-engagement on the basketball court are long behind her.  That timid ghost has steadily been replaced with a confident contributor.  Thursday evening I watched her sink two free throw shots in the last minute of the game to lead her team to victory.  I have to admit that I was blinking back the tears as I watched the composure and strength of character shine through.

The 10,000 baskets that she made "on a bet" last winter provided a good foundation...

The 10,000 baskets that she made on another bet last winter provided a good foundation…

As a parent I often struggle with the balance of helping my daughters and letting them learn to do things on their own.  Over the years, I have settled into a place where I try to always offer support and direction but at the same time step back enough to allow my girls to become strong and independent young women.

They will determine their own futures, it is my job to inspire confidence and strength in them so that they are successful...

I believe that allowing them that freedom teaches them that true strength comes from within…

After all, when the buzzer sounds in the game of life, it will be up to them to make the ball drop into the hoop…

4 Comments

Filed under Ashley Grace's Corner, General

4 responses to “It Comes From Within…

  1. Bobbi

    Thanks Anne I needed to hear this. I have been struggling with this lately as our 9 mo old is learning that gravity is not always your friend, crawling isn’t easy, and even though learning to stand and take those 1st steps is fun, it is a steep frustrating uphill learning curve. Every time he get frustrated, falls over and struggles to get sat back up, or takes a crash landing I find myself wanting to go fix the situation. I am by a nature a fixer but I know deep down that if I go running to his rescue every time he gets frustrated he will never learn to think for himself and will become dependant on me to do everything for him. It is hard to sit back and watch him struggle but I have to keep reminding myself it is OK to struggle our best taught lessons often come from failure.

    • I love the last sentence of your comment, Bobbi. Those words are so very true. You will do a great job with your little guy—and I am confident that raising him will be one of your greatest joys. I know that my girls are truly the best thing that I have done with my life, and it brings me such pride and joy to watch them become confident and successful young people!

      Take care and don’t sweat the little things :)
      Anne

  2. Karla

    Great Article — something for all of us (young and old)

    • Thank you, Karla! I appreciate the feedback and am so glad that you enjoyed the post. I always love the posts that I write about my girls the best—consequently, it is really fun for me to get positive feedback from readers on them.

      All the best,
      Anne

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