I took this picture after Max got home from speaking in church. He talked about a conference talk on the Priesthood.
And he was quite relieved when it was over.
It was kind of a big experience for all of us because it was a lesson for Dave and me about not doing things for our kids, which can be SO hard sometimes.
He kept forgetting to prepare.
“Max, are you ready for your talk?” we’d ask. “Oh, I forgot.” came the response.
In the back of his mind I’m just sure he figured we’d come along and think up ideas for him. We’d come save the day. Cause that’s what we do.
Dave and I talked about maybe this would be the time he would have to learn the hard way and get up in front of all those people unprepared if he didn’t do it himself. And at that moment a big lump came up in my throat. Oh man, it is true that kids need to have ownership of things and if we come along and save the day all the time it’s a total disservice to them. But wow, it’s hard to just let go and hope that they do what they are supposed to and it will be a learning experience rather than a negative one.
We decided to make sure he had all the tools to do it, to make sure he was trained in how to give a talk (he’s given one before, but we sure helped a bunch). So we sat down with him and let him know he was really 100% in charge. There would be no coming to save the day if he forgot. If he came up with an outline we’d critique it if he wanted, and we’d be happy to talk over his ideas with him, but they needed to be purely his ideas.
I know it was just a talk. I know that it wouldn’t be the end of the world for him to fail. And sure, he’s done many hard things by himself before. And he’s had some rough experiences too. But for some reason this little example was kind of a turning point in my mind with parenting. Maybe because it turned out well.
He pulled it off with flying colors.
Aside from the part where he said “um” like 65 times, he was composed and confident up there. He remembered what he prepared. He had a couple good stories and even a little joke.
As I sat there with my heart pumping in my chest for him, I realized something big. He can do hard things. And this little tiny example is a building block for other harder things to come. Because life will be full of them.
I know he can do it. I know he can fly.
We just need to give him room to let him spread his wings.
…and to be ok with the failures that will come, and will ultimately help him stretch those wings even further.