We Were Born Complete

A few years ago, my middle daughter endured a pretty crushing blow when, after playing high school varsity soccer during her junior year, she didn't make the team for her senior year. The tears and the raw "kick in the gut" emotions were intense and overwhelming. My sweet girl cried harder than I had ever seen her cry.

Once my own raw emotions settled, I wrote a letter to her coach to explain what that fateful decision did for us.

I have shared the letter with thousands of parents over the years in hopes that it will help them remember where things like worth, strength, resilience, and innate wellbeing actually come from.

I hope it helps you remember, too. Enjoy the letter. It's as timeless and relevant as ever.

(I took out the coach's actual name for obvious reasons) 😃

Dear Coach (XXX),-

A few weeks ago, something completely unexpected happened. After living our lives on the soccer fields for the past decade and a half, spending more resources in time and money and emotions than we care to count, hosting team dinners and announcing varsity games on the loudspeaker, hosting travel players from other states, traveling to tournaments when the rest of our family traveled to weddings and showers and celebrations...after all that, you posted the new varsity soccer roster. And it didn't include our kid.

And there were so many tears. I'm not sure which of us cried the hardest.

And, I just want to say THANK YOU. And there is not one ounce of sarcasm in that thank-you. Because of your decision, for the first time since I can remember, my kid and I are connecting. Actually really deeply connecting. And we are spending time together and we are having FUN, and we are not stressing out over how much playing time she will have or how to squeeze in homework or how to find tiny moments of family time. We watch TV, cuddled up with blankets and popcorn. We make videos and sing loudly into pretend microphones. We dance like idiots and we laugh until there are tears. We eat dinner as an actual family.

But more importantly, THANK YOU, because you just laid a solid, unshakable layer in my kid's foundation.

In a world where we break our own necks to ensure that our kids never fail, we sometimes unintentionally help them create foundations made of sand. And it looks so real and solid until, lo and behold, they are out in the world, and something goes wrong.

And that foundation of sand crumbles. And they are left to believe that THEY are failures. When, in truth, nothing has happened except that Life has come along and removed the things that were believed to be the source of their worth, their freedom, and their security (like the straight A's, the soccer wins, the college acceptance, and the perfect first job).

When we don't let our kids lose, fall down, and even cry to the point of exhaustion, we rob them of the opportunity to see where all that good stuff DOES come from. We keep them from seeing that nothing they do and nothing that happens to them can increase or decrease their worth.


This is the lesson worth learning. Even if it means missing a senior year on the Varsity team with all her lifelong friends. It's worth it.

My kid fell HARD on that fateful February morning when the roster was posted.

AND she saw that when she was ready to pick herself back up, she was strong, resilient, capable, worthy, loved, and as freaking amazing as the day she was born. Not one part of her was broken or lost.

So, thank you. It was HARD. But my kid was designed to do HARD THINGS. We all are.