Those first steps are always the hardest

I was a very proud momma last night!

I have mentioned before that my daughters are both in 4H. My youngest, Amy, is in 2 different clubs – one is the beef club and the other one is the multi-purpose, which they are both in.

Last night was the beef club’s communications night, where if any of you have ever been in 4H, you will remember. The kids all have to prepare speeches according to their age level.

Kids Gaining Confidence Through Public Speaking
Way to go Amy!

This is the first year that they have lowered the starting age for 4H to 7, which is why Amy was able to start. So, her speech had to be just a minute long, but I am sure to the kids her age who had to get up in front of all of those people, it must have felt like 20 minutes!

The thing is, both of my daughters have been extremely shy and nervous their whole lives. I was always the same way, so I guess they inherited it from me.  They have clung to me when people spoke to them, and been terrified of anything they had to do without me right at their side.

I have to admit, I was so worried for her. I honestly had my doubts whether she could actually get up on that stage when her name was called.

But she did. And I could tell she was terrified, (although she says she wasn’t nervous at all!), but she spoke loud and clear and never missed a beat!

It was one of those moments as a parent where you just feel such overwhelming pride – mixed with just a touch of sadness to see that little girl who always needed you for every little thing, standing up there doing something that scared her – but doing it anyway.

We always want to protect our kids, and never like to see them hurting, or sad, or scared. And having to sit there and watch her walk up on that stage – I don’t know who was more terrified!!

But oh man, was I proud! One of those defining moments as a parent where you just feel such happiness that your kids have taken a step on their own.

I wanted my girls to be in 4H because it does teach them such wonderful life skills, such as giving them the confidence to speak in public. To me, that is the kind of life lessons that are a big deal.

Tomorrow night is the communications night for the multipurpose club. So, Amy will do her speech again, and my oldest daughter, Morgan, will get up and do hers for the first time.

By the end of the week, I will have watched my little girls take a step towards growing up – and while it makes me feel a bit sad, I am so proud and happy that they are confident enough to do it.

We can’t protect them from everything forever – all we can do is watch and let them know we are there behind them all the way. And, hopefully they will gain more and more confidence each time they do something like this that scares them just a bit – on their own.

I will still always be that mom who is sitting there with my heart in my throat watching and cheering them on – but I hope I have shown them that they can do these kinds of things, and how proud I will always be when they do.


11 thoughts on “Those first steps are always the hardest

  1. My son was extremely shy (like his daddy)… painfully so. So we had him audition for a play at our local children’s theatre, now 4 years later, he isn’t the same child. This is his first year in 4H and he just won his classes speech competition and goes to county the end of March. Four years ago, he would never have even tried. Kudos to your daughters!


  2. It is such a bitter sweet moment. My son is really shy and clings to me all the time too. He’s not quite two though, so I have a little bit more time before he starts gaining that kind of independence. Way to go Amy!


  3. Yay Amy!! 🙂
    I am hoping to put Alex in a group like 4H or Scouts. He really needs the social skills and independent challenges that come with being a part of a group. Any suggestions?


    1. If you have a 4H group nearby, then yes, I would definitely recommend getting him into it. Our multi-purpose club has lots of boys – the choices they have for projects are great. Some take woodworking or there is a kind of survival course too. There is lots to choose from! I had my kids in Sparks and Brownies for awhile, but they never had to sit in a “meeting” like they do at 4H, and they never had to do the speeches, which I think is a HUGE confidence builder. And, they get to learn about helping the community, and how to come up with ideas for fundraising. I think it is great – and I’m sure Alex would enjoy it.


  4. As someone who has suffered with shyness and social anxiety my whole life, I know how brave she was to do this. It is definitely the first steps that are the hardest to take.


  5. OH I just love this!! I’m a 4H “grad” (and FFA for that matter), and I truly credit 4H for my public speaking skills…I won’t say it’s easy, but I am certainly able to speak in public, and truly…I believe my 4H and FFA experiences are to thank. I was even in a Public Speaking group in 4H.

    I am proud of your daughters, too, I know how hard it is…and at 7! Way to go girls!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s