Why I Stopped Playing Small for my Kids Wellbeing
It happens more often than we would like to admit, but every once in a while we think about something that we would like to do for ourselves or for our kids and then the doubt kicks in, the doubts about our own abilities and how we feel completely unqualified to take on this task.
This is one of our biggest downfalls and the reason why so many parents tend to play small. What I mean by this is that we shy away from big challenges that we believe ourselves to be incapable of so we would rather not try at all than fall short from achieving the goal.
I used to feel the same way when I thought about teaching my kids a new foreign language that I wasn’t a native speaker of, I didn’t even speak the language at all.
So let me tell you what I realized to stop me from playing small.
- Your insecurities can become your kids’ disadvantage
Once I took a step back and really looked at the situation from a different angle, I realized that the main reasons why I didn’t want to teach my kids a new language was because I doubted my own abilities to teach my kids and had nothing to do with my kids’ abilities to learn this language.
That was when I realized that at the end of the day, I was influencing my kids’ futures and possibly putting then at a disadvantage simply because I wasn’t sure I could do it.
I mean, I’m not a teacher, I had no teaching experience of any kind and I certainly couldn’t speak the language, but what I could do was try.
I didn’t have to be a qualified teacher or a native speaker in the language, I simply had to be willing to try my best to help my kids grow and learn in ways that would benefit them further down the line in their lives.
- Crutches are helpful, but not necessary
When I first decided to teach my kids French, we were living in America and I had so much more access to the language than what I did when we moved back to Australia.
Being immersed in the culture made it so much easier for both me and my kids to learn the language as we were surrounded by it where ever we went.
So I started to think of it as having a safety net in place or walking with crutches. It was very helpful to have, but it wasn’t a necessity.
So once we moved back to Australia, that safety net or helping hand was gone and I thought that this might turn into a bigger challenge, but luckily I came to the realization that this wasn’t the case.
You don’t need to be in the country whose language you want to teach to your kids.
You don’t need the best equipment or most expensive books.
You don’t even need to be able to speak the language first.
Just don’t let not having any of those things stop you from trying at all.
- Don’t think about what you don’t have and focus on what you do have
Whenever we want to buy a new expensive item or take on a new opportunity, we have been taught to weigh the pros and cons, to make a list of all the reasons you have for doing it or not doing it and then make a decision based on which side of that list is the longest.
Naturally we as parents did the same thing when we had to decide if we were going to teach our kids a new language at home or not.
The pros might have been that our kids would have an advantage academically;
they would have better social skills and would score better or standardized tests and several more.
The cons, as in my case, would have been along the lines of me not being able to speak the language, me not being a teacher of any kind, I wouldn’t have the time, and we don’t have the right tools or equipment.
But what if I told you that you could eliminate all those cons?
Because anything can be turned into a pro or an advantage once you look at it from a different perspective.
Yes I don’t speak the language, but I’m capable of learning it with my kids.
Sure I’m not a teacher, but I know my kids better than anyone else and I know what works best for them to help them learn new things.
I might feel like I don’t have time, but if I look at it as a must and make sure to schedule a time for it in my daily routine, I would have time.
We have to learn to stop letting the things we think we don’t have hold us back.
Just focus on what you do have and make it work for you.
- Start with small steps
As soon as you think about learning a new language, your mind automatically jumps to long, hard courses and heaps of thick books that will take months or even years to work through.
Right here is where you slam on the brakes before you get ahead of yourself.
One of the best things that I have learned throughout this wonderful journey of teaching my kids new languages is that it really helps to start small.
There is no need to try and set extremely high expectations or deadlines for the milestones that you want to reach for you and your kids.
Just start with the first manageable small step and once you’ve done that successfully, give another and another and just don’t stop.
Before long you will realize that you have made great progress and that this mountain of a challenge doesn’t seem as daunting anymore, because you have already climbed it halfway.
After I got over some of my biggest doubts, I decided to take my first small step with Twister.
Yes, you read that right, Twister.
Instead of using the English color names, I simply traded them for the French color names and that is how we got started.
We began with 5 minute sessions a day, a new word or two everyday and we worked our way up from there and honestly, starting small made all the difference.
So here is what I want you to do.
Go to your kids and have a chat, ask them what they want to be one day, which places do they want to visit, what dreams do they want to achieve.
Let their answers sink in and then ask yourself if they would be able to achieve their goals and dreams easier or quicker with your help.
Of course they would!
So why should you let your own doubts and insecurities prevent you from helping your kids learn and grow into the amazing people you know they will be one day?
The answer is simple; you shouldn’t.
It’s time to regain that confidence in your own abilities and know that your kids will be far better off with your help, guidance and encouragement.
It’s time to stop playing small and start thinking about the massive positive influence you will be in shaping your kids, giving them an advantage towards a better future and to open up new possibilities to them that they might not have had otherwise.
The best part about all of this is that you don’t have to do it alone; we will be with you every step of the way.
So let’s start playing big.
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