Every year around this time kids perform in their holiday concert. For many schools it is the most well attended event of the year. In years past, my daughter has joined her classmates in singing two or three seasonal songs. This year was different though. This year my daughter had a few speaking parts while dressed as a snowflake.
My daughter was very excited when she heard the news that she had earned one of the speaking parts. Yet with her excitement also came some nervousness. She practiced and practiced her lines until she knew them by heart. And, each day leading up to the concert her class would prepare for what was going to be a special night.
Each day my wife and I would ask her how it was going, and each day she would tell us that she did well but that she was very nervous. She was worried that people would laugh at her if she made a mistake. She was also worried, understandably so, about speaking in front of over a thousand people. We told her not to worry and that she would do great. But, let’s be honest, how many of us wouldn’t be nervous about speaking in front of over a thousand people? And, how many of us have ever actually had to?
When the big night came last week we were all very excited. Because my wife actually teaches at my daughter’s school, she was able to secure us front row seats. This was great for viewing, but tough for my two-year old son who is distracted by anything that moves or is shiny. My daughter’s parts came towards the end of the concert and I was a nervous wreck because I knew how she felt.
The time had finally arrived for her to recite her lines that she had been practicing for so long. She stepped up to the microphone and said her lines perfectly. The only thing was she thought she had made a mistake. When she went to sit down with her fellow “snowflakes” I could see that she was close to tears. At one point she did actually have a few tears slide down her cheek. You can only imagine how difficult it was for me not to run up on stage and grab her in my arms and tell how much I love her. What happened next was the reason she is now my new official hero.
Despite the fact that she had just cried on stage. Despite the fact that she was a nervous wreck. Despite the fact that she was in front of over a thousand people. She went back up to the microphone two more times and nailed her lines perfectly. The courage it took to do that, considering all the circumstances, was something I will never forget. I was so proud of her my heart nearly popped out of my chest.
The next time I am nervous about something. The next time I begin to doubt myself. The next time I stumble, I will remember the night the “little snowflake”, my daughter, my hero, went back out on that stage and showed me what real courage looks like.