I learned an amazing lesson in resilience.
The last few weeks have been manic for a bunch of mums who have talented children who enter the annual Eisteddfod here in my community.The last few weeks have been manic for a bunch of mums who have talented children who enter the annual Eisteddfod here in my community.
My beautiful sister is one such mum, not only my sister but my mum too. She lives up north, which is a five-hour drive and she came to my sister's aid because my niece was involved in a week of dance. I would like to say my niece is super talented, but honestly, I have no idea about any of this dance stuff, and I am way too one-eyed to be impartial.
My niece is gorgeous in looks and personality.
At 12 years old, she is a petite ball of energy and wisdom. What I learned from her on the day I went to watch her was a lesson I will never forget. I am choked up while writing this.
You see the night before her final performance I messed up as an auntie. More on that later when I will share an excellent lesson which I learned from her.
Knowing me well, my sister only asked me to come and watch one session which was on a Saturday and the last day of the Eisteddfod. I have three grown son’s, so her consideration towards me, having already endured my own years of watching other people's children perform and the few minutes I got to see my children, was very much appreciated.
There was a strong rivalry present
The majority of the performers were quite good. There are two dance schools in town. Therefore a strong rivalry was evident. Some of the little treasures had gotten themselves in such a nervous state, they ran off the stage in tears. My heart went out to them, the courage to get up on stage and perform in front of their peers, the rival dance school, and their family is huge. Not to forget the panel of judges. These kids are amazing.
Back to my niece’s solo performance. When she came onto the stage her peers shouted words of encouragement, she was the only one they did this for, a testament to her popularity and ability.
Although tiny, she still filled the stage with her presence, her performance was amazing, and as soon as the music started, her timing was perfectly executed. You could see she was truly enjoying herself and knew she was nailing her performance. I was stunned, I had never seen her perform before, but I could still tell many hours of effort had gone into practicing the dance. I was honestly awe inspired by her, and from what I had seen in the other dancers she had a good chance to be in the top range of the performers. It was really exciting.
I messed up as an auntie
OK, let me go back to how I messed up as an auntie. A few nights before the performance I was at her house, and I said ‘I am coming to watch, so you had better win.' She was annoyed me for saying that, and that night mum chipped me as well. My response was to say ‘it’s good for her.' Well, it was not ok, I messed up and should not have said it. I have thought long and hard about this because of what happened.
We were brought up with a high level of competitiveness, I am sure it was not deliberate parenting, it's just the way it was, we played lots of sport, and it was expected we would win. Not how things are done these days and for good reason. Research shows that people who are rewarded for results are less likely to try new or difficult tasks because there is a high chance of failure. Whereas people who have been brought up being rewarded for effort are more resilient.
The Importance of being resilient.
Which is what my niece taught me on the day of her performance, the importance of being resilient.
Back to my niece’s performance. Three-quarters of the way through she ran off the stage with her hand over her mouth as if to vomit. Everyone in the crowd was shocked, she was doing so well. My immediate thought was she had been struck with stage fright. Her mother instantly went backstage to find out what had happened.
It turns out she had a coughing fit, as she tried to hold it down, vomit started coming up into her mouth and she had to run-off before she vomited on stage. It was assumed not only by me, she had stage fright, but she did not, she wasn't nervous because she had practiced and she knew her routine. It was an unfortunate event. We were devastated for her, hours of effort had gone into practicing the dance routine.
I would have taken to my bed and stayed there.
If that had been me, I would have gone home crying taken to my bed and stayed there, and I may have given up altogether. But not my niece, she was given another opportunity to go back on stage and finish her dance. She returned to the stage, smiled and gave it her best shot. At that moment she was the teacher, teaching me to never give up no matter what adversity is put in front of me. She had been disqualified for leaving the stage in her initial performance but was given the opportunity to return to the stage if she wished. She returned to the stage, and in front of her family, friends, and rivals repeated her performance.
Maturity beyond her years
The courage it took for her to do this showed a maturity beyond her years, and I am so proud to have been given this life lesson by my beautiful niece. When you have a setback get back on stage and do it again.