“Ask the driver to stop at Playa Langosta,”
“But he doesn’t speak English,” she replied.
“I can tell you how to say it in Spanish.”
“I don’t want to say it in Spanish,” she said, raising her voice — part frustration — part fear.
“The beach is coming.”
“Please don’t make me do it!” She begged, now in complete panic.
I glanced at her mother sitting next to her on the bus. I never know if she will go along with my “throw em in the deep end” parenting style.
“We’re going to end up riding this bus all day,” my wife chimed in.
She doesn’t always support these little lessons, but she was grinning.
We were living in Mexico for the summer, so I wanted her to know how to navigate public transportation.
She started pleading as tears flooded her eyes.
“Walk up to do the driver and say, ‘Parada en Playa Langosta por favor.’” I wasn’t sure that was exactly right, but it was close enough.
She gave up the fight and started rehearsing in Spanish.
“You’ve got it,” I encouraged her.
“We’re going to miss our stop,” my wife upped the pressure.
She was a fourteen year old varsity cheerleader who routinely performed in front of large crowds, but in a strange place and a foreign language, this was way outside her comfort zone.
A moment later, she stood and walked to the driver as everyone on the bus watched.
In perfect Spanish told him where we needed to stop and we were off to the beach.
Initially, she was furious, but hours later she was bragging about her new confidence in Spanish.
I suspect some would call child protective services, but fortunately we are still allowed a little discretion in parenting.
These experiences cultivate the most important trait a child can ever learn — self-confidence.
We are not born with confidence. It is a skill everyone can develop.
And you do not develop confidence from the ‘Everybody is a winner’ school of thought.
You develop confidence by learning to be comfortable being uncomfortable.
And the more often you’re pushed outside your comfort zone, the more confident you will become.