Thursday, February 21, 2008

"Cheryl, you should really encourage your children to not be so shy."

Yes, this sentence was actually said to me while we were at our Family Life Retreat this past weekend.

Of course, it was all said in jest...right after Sydney had performed one of her skits up on stage, in front of everyone, when no one else under 5 had the nerve, smiling and fist-pumping and bowing in all her glory.

You see, I have girls who are quite comfortable in their shells. The words Shrinking Violet, or Shy Child, or Scaredy-Cat will never be used do describe McKenna, Delaney, or Scout.

McKenna and Delaney have always been in-the-spotlight kind of people. Not that they are necessarily, "Look at me! Look at what I can do!" girls, but they love to get involved in activities and they aren't going to let a little bit of fear get in their way of doing what they want to do. (McKenna has spoken in front of the entire church, is on the dance team at school, loves to present projects at school. Delaney has played softball since she was 4 and was a pitcher for years, she sang her first solo at church when she was 5, and is one of like four sixth=graders that are in the middle school's drama production this Spring.)

But it doesn't just have to do with being comfortable in crowds or in front of people. It also extends to a comfort in speaking their minds; of not being afraid to speak up for themselves. If McKenna disagrees with a group of her peers, she is not afraid to tell them. If a boyfriend thinks she should "think" a certain way, she shuts him up real quick about it. (Believe me, I've seen this and it was quite scary! lol)

With every character trait, of course, there are down=sides. Being this way can certainly be negative on some level. I will never have the child who the teacher calls "quiet and unassuming." Other kids can call you a "know=it-all" when you're simply being confident (Delaney prides herself in being well-liked, so she was quite upset to learn that there is one girl in one of her classes "who hates me because she thinks I'm a snoot."). And, if you're not careful, being a strong young woman can make you mature a little too quickly (I am known to say to McKenna, "You can think about college later. You're only young once!")

So, I'm actually quite proud of my girls' characters. Both McKenna and Delaney are sweet and smart girls; they are social and have lots of friends. And...yes...they know how to stand on their own! They will make decisions based on their own passions and opinions and convictions. And I think that's a really good thing!

I guess it all comes back to the talks I have given to them over the years, starting really when they could barely talk themselves. I have said, "You can do anything you put your mind to!", "Go for it!" and "Be a leader, not a follower" (my very FAVORITE!) more times than I can remember.

So....that all brings us back to Daughter Number 3.

Is there any way that she would let these talks go in one ear and out the other?

Is there any way that with two older, strong, in-the=spotlight-sisters, she would choose to be my quiet and shy and in-the-background daughter?

You've got to be kidding, right?

For evidence that I believe Sydney will be another Strong and Confident Wray, I give you a little story and some photographic proof from Skit Night at our church camp this past weekend.

I knew that Sydney might want to do something on stage for Skit Night, so I packed her leotard, tights, ballet shoes, and tutu in her suitcase just in case. I figured I'd ask her if she'd like to dance for everyone and if she wanted to, that was cool. If not, no big deal.

When I told her about skit nigh and her ballet clothes, she told me she wasn't going to do a dance.

"I already know what I'm gonna do," she told me. "I'm gonna do karate jumps."

I tried my best not to laugh out loud. Karate jumps? Does my child take karate lesson? Where would she have ever gotten that idea?

But, she was determined to do it and I told her that I think that would be great and I couldn't wait to see her do it.

Once Delaney got wind that Sydney was performing, she put her on the talent list and she was the first person up on stage. While Sydney waited patiently on stage (no fear on her face, just a big ole smile!), our emcee announced that "our first act will be a performance by martial arts expert Sydney Wray." To the tune of "Rock Star" by Hannah Montana (of course!), she did the cutest little performance. Kicked and jumped and did her hand motions and made that karate sound "hi-yaaa." She even asked one of the teenage boys to come on stage and she promptly knocked him out.

It was precious; she got big cheers; and then she bowed for everyone (I wish I had that picture!).

(then, after the karate "demonstration," she was the only one of the preschoolers who would get up and sing the song they had all practiced together. Yep, there she is. Singing all by herself to the crowd! lol)

And that's when I had someone come up to me, laughing, and say, "Cheryl, you should really encourage your children to not be so shy."


camport said...

I wish I was more like her! What a cutie.


Katrin said...

Sorry - I might be a little slow here, but that comment was meant sarcastically, right? I wish I could've seen it... :)

Gin said...

That was the cutest story! You must be really proud of your girls

Ms.L said...

LOL,she's a great kid!

Kimberly said...

Really cute...wish i wasn't so shy..

Cheryl Wray said...

Chrissy--It's so funny, because I used to be SO shy when I was a kid. I'm not anymore, but when I was her age (or the age of McKenna or Delaney) I would have NEVER gotten in front of people like they do!

Katrin--Oh yeah, completely sarcastic. LOL

Gin--I am always proud of them! (well, except when they are fighting with each other!)

Ms. L--She really is!

Kimberly--Don't you love blogging, though? Cause you aren't "shy" online? :-)

Mississippi Songbird said...

Waht a cutie she is...

Yes, My daughter loves the spotlight... My son, not so
Thanks for posting the great pictures.. I know you had a blast at the retreat.. so neat..

Auburn Kat said...

It's great that you let your girls do what they want to do and encourage them to do it! Its sad how so many parents do not encourage their children to follow their hearts!

Dawn Bibbs said...

Awww, how sad for you to have such shy, standing behind mommy girls, lol. Those girls are gonna go far in life. Being the way they are is a good trait for women these days. Jayla, as you know, is not quite, ahem...standoffish (is that a word?) She too, is quite the demonstrative one. And I love it. I'm sure I don't need to tell YOU this, but ENJOY it!!!

As always, I can't wait until Jayla and Scout meet...what a day THAT will be :-).

Enjoy your weekend, my friend.

Renee said...

That's so great. I, too, aspire to be more like Sydney!

Adrienne said...

Too cute!!!

Marjolein said...

Love this! Isn't it great... I love it when kids aren't shy.. up to a certain degree that is:-)) I surely wasn't like that and my youngest still isn't but getting there!!
Great story!

NancyJones said...

Bella on the other hand... will do all that FOR US and for the family but NEVER would she get up in front of a crowd and do it. she did at age 2 a huge performance for her 2k class at her christmas program she is involved in plays and sings in church stuff and programs but if I ask her if she wants to do show and tell or the talent show.. Nooomam Im too sceeerrrd (whats that about???)
so I need to borrow y our kids a little and let them show bella it wont hurt ROFLMBO
I LOVED this story girl you alwyas crack me up.

Babydoll said...

Thanks so much for your sweet comment on my blog!! I'm a Dawn stalker too!! hehehehe!! I'll be checking in on yours as well. Thanks again!

Delia said...

Lol, she's so cute!

And I think it's great that encourage your girls to be their own person and not let fear get in their way.

Leah said...

Thar is so cute! Good for her!

Maria said...

Such a CUTE story! I had missed reading about your adorable little ones! I feel happy again! :D

~Nancy~ said...

Aww.. she's so cute Cheryl!!! You must have been so proud of your girlies!!!!! (I wish I wasn't so shy either.. hehe.. ) Have a great weekend! XOXO

Susie Q said...

OH my...such shy, retiring girls...
: ) I LOVE them the way they are...full of life and spirit! I know you are so proud of them. They are absolute jewels!

Hugs and love,

Patti said...

Darling, just darling. Those are wonderful qualities to instill in your girls Cheryl that will hold them in stead the rest of their lives!

I am so proud when I see my little one go up on stage with no fear. I hope it doesn't change.

Theresa Tyree said...

This all comes from great parenting! You should be so proud! By the way, does Scout watch alot of Sponge Bob? Sponge Bob and Sandy love to karate spar, so maybe that's where it's coming from. I know that's the source of Connor's karate chopping/kicking antics. Hee hee!!

Linda said...

Oh yeah, that girl really needs to come out of her for her.

Traci said...

I LOVED this post. I've really been thinking a lot lately about how I want my kids to be confident and not be afraid to do whatever they want. I teach voice and piano lessons and I see kids that are soooo incredibly shy, and I almost feel sorry for them. Not that there's anything wrong with being shy, but I think it can inhibit you from doing something you might really enjoy. I might write a post about this! Thanks for sharing. Oh, and with a name like "Scout", how could she be shy? :)