She raised her arms, turned, and met my eyes. My normally timid ten-year-old held her own under pressure. Exhausted but elated, she pulled herself to her feet and trotted back to midfield. There was a little swagger in her step. And moment by moment she's not just becoming who she is going to be passively, she's believing in that person as well.
Our world is full of a constant stream of feedback and we have choices. Internalize the feedback, disregard it, learn something from it, or ignore it completely. There is a time for all of those responses. The difficulty is finding the right response amid all then noise that comes along with it. The nearly impossible is retaining the self that exists at the center of it all without losing your way.
Whether it's an airbrushed model in a magazine, a mean kid at school, or even someone who they thought loved them deeply, I want them to remain strong and clear-minded when the feedback arrives. Don't change for the wrong reasons, don't listen to the negativity when it's not productive, don't assume that you know everything, but recognize that you don't have to always believe the noise. I want them to protect the things that they hold dear, that they know to be true. Right and wrong isn't the same as truth and perception.
I want them to always strive to be better, every day. Not assume that they have arrived at their full potential, but not to assume immediately that they are not good enough as they are. We're all works in progress. I see their goodness, their beauty, their generosity and their strength. They need to see it too. Belief in the core, awareness of self drives what they do when they are out in the world.
So, hold your own. The rest will come.