I was a shy child. I had plenty of friends, but I was shy with adults, sometimes painfully. I hated it when my mom made me call the pizza place, or pay for an item by myself in a store, or without warning, roll down my car window and get me to stop someone and ask for directions. She didn't just push me out of my comfort zone, she busted the bars off my self-protective little cell. Now, I am certain her encouragement toward confidence was coupled with prayer for me. Those prayers took that shy kid and grew her up and caused her to do the same for her own children. Overcoming the fear of talking to adults moved me to independence and eventually to large group public speaking several times!
It is this gentle nudging (or occasionally shoving) my little birds to step out of the comfort of the nest that actually gives them the security that they really can soar. About a year ago, Meg thanked me for helping her to become a strong person. She felt that a no-nonsense approach, mixed with love was what stretched her and allowed her to face her fears when it would have been easier to run the other way. I learned from my mom--I can't do it alone--and I wouldn't dare. The joy of the Lord is their strength. He is their refuge and strength. His name is a strong tower and they are safe when they run to Him. I tell them this so they don't have to be afraid that they are alone in any intimidating ventures. And so, it is with some trepidation and lots of prayer, that my children sing solos, play lead roles in dramas, give speeches and step in when Grandma is not well and play the piano for Friendship Club worship time :)
Our last Friendship night of the year so a proud momma had her camera ;)
Some little souls might need a more gradual approach as they step into independence, and that's okay. Each Momma must pray for God to reveal just how much stretching their children should sustain as they grow and learn. As they age and hear God's voice for themselves and discover His plan for them, I pray they'll be equipped to say yes, with assurance. Public speaking and solos are not the calling for every child, however, I encourage my children to accept what is requested of them as service to Jesus and their community. I'm thankful that in my experience, a little push goes a long way in creating kiddos who eventually exclaim, "I can do it!" or "I'll try!"
Grandpa asked Meg to learn about six songs in 2 hours (because in my husband's family, they push from the nest too :) She was nervous and didn't think it would go well, but she told me she wanted to add this to her list of tough things she has tried. It was worth saying yes. A few bumps ensued, but nevertheless, a great job and a room full of developmentally challenged people clapped hard and proudly for her :)