At the end of practice yesterday we did our routine that is really a competition between the jumpers to see who can last the longest as the song gets faster and faster. It had been a hard practice (with my grouchiness I may have made us work on one routine over and over again) so most of the kids were exhausted and quickly tripped on their ropes.
It quickly came down to just 2 jumpers, one competed at nationals, a 5th grader, and certainly our strongest jumper this year. The other was a third grader who blends into the group and will always position herself in the back of the pack. Toward the end of the song our amazing 5th grader tripped on her rope, leaving only the third grader. Her eyes got big and she immediately sat down when she saw she was the only one left.
I totally understand where she was coming from, but it still broke my heart that she didn't even let herself win. Afterward she came up to me and told me she knew she'd sat down because she didn't want to win. "I don't know why!" she said, shaking her head. "I just had to sit down".
It reminds me of a quote featured in the movie Akeelah and the Bee "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. "
For our children whose lives are chaotic and constantly in a state of survival~ success, standing out as a champion, and having talent is not always an option. Caring for the family, blending into the background to be one of the group has been ingrained into these little one's bodies for so long they don't know how to let themselves start to shine out from the group.