Go Ahead, Give It a Try

Today’s blog post is submitted by our featured guest contributor, Leonne Bannister.  Enjoy the post and look forward to future posts from Leonne.

I’m always trying to get my kids to try new things. When my daughter, Olivia’s, swimming lessons ended recently, I suggested she take an art class. She was reluctant at first. “How could I take an art class? I don’t even know how to do art?” However, after some encouragement, she agreed to take the class. Her first class was challenging. She was the youngest child in the class and many of the older children had quite an artful skill to their work. I could see that Olivia was intimidated. I continued to encourage her and reassure her that “those big kids started just like you. You’ll be there sooner than you know it. Just keep trying.” And Olivia listened. She kept hammering away at the class and began to feel more confident, her skills improved and she became very comfortable with the older classmates.

Around the same time as Olivia’s art class, I was asked to play on an indoor soccer team. I had never played soccer. My first response was, “There’s no way. I can’t play soccer. I don’t even know how. I’d look like a total fool.” It hit me. Who did I sound like? Or, rather, who sounded like me? I had almost the same response to a new activity and challenge that Olivia had to the art class. With that realization, I decided to try the indoor soccer team. If not just for me, but also to prove to my kids that it’s good to try new things. Even when they seem foreign and challenging.

I was honest with my kids. I told them, that while I enjoy physical exercise, I am not comfortable playing soccer. In fact, I hadn’t ever played soccer and have no experience with the game. They knew soccer was as new to me as the art class was to Olivia. I explicitly told them that I was going to try something new because I was setting a good example for them. I added that I’ve made them try new things and it would only be natural for me to try something new as well. [What I practiced with my children is a concept called “deep modeling.” It’s the idea of taking children backstage into the process of WHY we do things. So rather than just doing something because we know it’s a good example to set and hope that our children learn from that, we can actually explain WHY we are setting the example. Children are able to experience what happens before (or behind or beneath) decisions that we make. Greater exposure to the entire decision-making process and not just the decision itself will create better decision making skills within our children. ]

I have since played 3 soccer games with my indoor soccer team. My husband and children have watched the games. I feel supported by their presence and I’m thoroughly enjoying it.

Is there something you’ve been wanting to try? What’s holding you back? Can you find a way to overcome the challenges? If you can, give it a try. You’ll be setting a wonderful example to your children. It’s ok to try something new and different. You never know, you just might enjoy it.

Leonne is a wife and a mother of 2.  She has been a member of the LBCC Cooperative Preschool at the Benton Center for 3 years. She is a part time Parenting Education Instructor with LBCC and a CASA Advocate. She is also on the Board of Directors of CASA-Voices for Children. Leonne enjoys spending time with her family and volunteering in the community. In her “free” time she enjoys exercising and reading.