Last night we took the kids to a Go Fish concert at a church in Milwaukee. What fun!! We all had a great time and since it was a much smaller concert than many, we had great seats.
I was most struck though by Abby. I remember when we moved here three years ago, she was so very shy. If someone came near, she would hide behind Mom or Dad refusing even to peek out. When the need arose for her to say "Hi" or "Thank you" she would, after many proddings, finally pop out from her hiding place and barely whisper the word. As soon as that was done, she was back in her hiding spot highly embarrassed by having to make an appearance.
Last night was different though. Last night I saw a little girl who was dancing around in the aisle, chatting with the kids and adults around us (all strangers!), and even leaving her seat to join the crowd giving high fives to the singers! What a huge change!
As we drove home I was trying to put my finger on what has made the difference. As parents, we try to expose our kids to many environments and to give them skills to get along with a wide variety of people. But I think in Abby's case, the credit must go to her ballet teacher. Abby has had two years of ballet. The first was with only three other little girls in the class. Abby loved it! But she was still very shy. However, when year two started, she was the veteran of the group. The girls from the previous class had moved up a level and Abby had not. Her teacher intentionally pulled Abby out of her shell by making a big deal about her "knowing" all the stuff already. She had Abby demonstrate how to skip, sashay and pose in first position. At the end of each class, an ecstatic and bold girl would come bounding out of class eager to tell me how she had been the teacher's helper.
I doubt that this particular dance teacher realized what a huge impact she was having on a shy little girl. Regardless, I am appreciative of how she took the time to cater to the strengths of our daughter. It does make me wonder if I am having that kind of impact on the kids I meet. Do I give my own children and others the chance to shine? Either way, my actions can have a huge impact - either in letting a child stagnate or in helping them realize their great potential.