Pressure is not something we embrace.
In fact, parents often cringe when they see their kids in pressure situations.
I’ll never forget my son’s 4th grade all-star playoff game. As a pitcher, he was doing great; as a hitter, not so. It was the final inning and he’d just struck out for the third time, going back to the dugout in tears. But he had to suck up his emotions and head back to the mound to pitch his best if his team had a chance to win.
He did just that; three up, three down.
But his team was still behind one run and as they struggled to get some offense going, he sat in the dugout, wondering if he would get another at-bat.
Two outs. Down by one run. Two kids on base. My son was up to bat. Talk about Pressure!
I wondered what was going through his mind as he faced the opposing pitcher. I knew he was afraid. I knew he felt the pressure. I knew he wanted to prove that he could do it.
I know it was only little league, and he was only 10, but if you’re a sports parent, you totally understand what I was feeling. I couldn’t even sit still to watch; I had to pace off my nervous energy.
Even after three strike-outs and after feeling the weight of his job as a pitcher, my little boy defied the pressure that was on him at that moment and with one swing of the bat, sent the ball sailing into the outfield to hit in the winning run!
Don’t be afraid of Pressure
Fast forward 14 years. Today my son is a college graduate, working in an internship at our church. In the past several months, I’ve see him in some pressure situations; people were depending on him to follow through and get a job done. A few times, he felt overwhelmed, but he rarely let it show. He faced the pressure with poise and confidence.
I couldn’t help but remember that little league all-star game and the many times since that he faced pressure as an athlete. He played quarterback in high school and college, a position that lives under pressure. The pressure he’s faced in sports over the years has made him a stronger man.
Don’t shield your child from pressure. Don’t be afraid when it comes. With your love and support, your child will thrive and grow under pressure, making him an adult that will not crack when things get tough.
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