never stops teaching.
Journaling for awareness. Growing for life.
Gumption. I taught my daughter this word in the car this morning. She is nearly thirteen and experiencing standard pangs of self-doubt, fatigue, and emotion that can take her down that resolute rollercoaster without much warning. Her posture and voice in the morning tell me that everything feels heavier than it once did. It’s unreasonable to expect her to get up each day with the joy and confidence I know lives inside of her, but it is difficult to see those beautiful attributes sitting out our morning routine.
As she was getting out of the car today before school, I went for a quick pep-talk and suggested she might dig into her gumption to get her through the day. I explained gumption as her spunk, her courage, her resourcefulness and positive initiative. She smiled in understanding, but as she walked from the car, I watched her smile fade. My heart sank, and I seemed to get sucked back in time 27 years to Parker Jr. High School. I remembered with distinct detail, like you would food poisoning, the nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach as I walked into school. My gumption had been clobbered with questions: would my voice matter, were my clothes right, would I be completely embarrassing or get shut out when trying to blend in?
The often-painful, pre-teen right-of-passage comes with a fair amount of hazing from hormones and peers. And I don’t have an answer to this achy issue this morning, only a question. How, at any age, can we better honor our gumption? When it feels as though no one notices or cares, when facing an obstacle course of personal challenges, can we still hold out our courage and creativity? Can we experience that we are not alone and that we are enough?
To all those struggling to unearth their gumption, don’t give up. We need you. You’ve got the goods! Be patient and steady and go for the thing that makes your eyes light up or your heart sing. Not everyone will notice, but some will. And those are the lives you will touch and maybe change forever. One day it will be clear that it all matters. That you matter. For today, just give ‘em a little gumption.