Last weekend after enjoying dinner with some friends, my 17-year-old daughter, Kristie, her friend Sara and I were in the kitchen cleaning up. Sara asked Kristie how her gymnastics season was going this year. Kristie responded, “Well, I’m not really that good but I’m having fun.”
What? Not that good? It all depends on your frame of reference. Yes, compared to elite gymnasts, Kristie’s skills are not as good. Compared to anyone who has ever tried to do a cartwheel, her skills are nothing short of amazing.
As any parent of a teen can tell you, jumping into the middle of a conversation between them and their friends is risky business. However, I just couldn’t let this pass so I chimed in with “Anyone who can do a back handspring on a beam is good!” Kristie smiled appreciatively and said “Thanks, Mom.”
By reflecting back my view of reality to Kristie, she stopped to consider that she just might be judging herself a little too harshly. Helping kids appreciate their talents is a wonderful gift parents can give their children.