This past weekend, my daughter had dance try-outs for the competition teams at the studio she attends. As I watched her get into line with 70 or so other little girls her age, all dressed in black leotards with their hair pulled tight into buns, then scurry into a closed room where they would be judged, I couldn’t help but feel a little nervous and excited for her.

At just 7 years old, Jasmine already has a lot of dreams and things she’s passionate about and, as her parent, I want to support her. I see gifting and a drive to accomplish things at a young age I was never bold enough to do. But even with all her personality, she confided in me that she’s nervous: What if she doesn’t make the team?

And, boy oh boy, do I know how she feels. Fear has always played a big part in my life and often — too often — my decisions.

Istop what I am doing and sit down next to her. I look her in the eyes and tell her I am often afraid too. And then she asks, What do you do?

My answer to her is the same one I tell myself often: Do it afraid.

I go on to explain that fear is a normal part of life and sometimes doing new things make us nervous, but we don’t have to let fear dictate what we do. Often we chase our dreams, we put forth the effort, we say yes, even while fear is there alongside us. Fear doesn’t dissipate just because we want it to.

Sometimes we close our eyes, take a deep breath, say a little prayer, and do it afraid.

She nods slowly, taking in my words. I’m hoping that she begins to grasp this at a younger age than I did. I tell her the earlier she starts doing hard things, the more courage she’ll have as she gets older to keep doing hard things.

And then I remind her that I believe she’s capable. That even if she fails, she’s not a failure. That there is no shame in trying.

And she seems to soak in these words, these truths. They aren’t just for her, but for me as well and for you, too, friends.

We can all do scary things. We were meant to dream big and live life to the fullest. We were all meant to be #girlswhotry.

Kendra Egeland Roehl

Author Kendra Egeland Roehl

Kendra received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work and has worked for hospice programs, low-income housing, and the St. Cloud Veterans Affairs Medical Center. A mother of four, she and her husband are both foster and adoptive parents. She is a speaker and writer about topics such as marriage, motherhood, foster care, adoption, and social justice at The Ruth Experience.

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