Last night I had a full, half hour reprieve. No chores to do. No cute little voice tugging on my pants and talking. No “Mommy, can I eat?” No “Mommy, can you watch me potty?” No “Mommy, will you play with me?” No “Mommy, why [insert anything]?” Just silence. Whoever coined the phrase “silence is golden” must have been a parent.
So, what did I do with this half hour blessing? I drifted into the mindless oblivion of reality TV, The X Factor. For the first 20 minutes I was subjected to the rejects that come on the show based off a dare or are clueless that their so-called comedic performance just isn’t funny. American Idol has been on for 10 years. Been there, done that with the losers making a mockery of music. I mean, the Pants on the Ground guy is probably performing on Hollywood Blvd, next to a hat full of dollars and coins.
Then, a tall, eighteen year old girl named Melanie Amaro graced the stage with her familial fan club standing on the sideline. When Simon Cowell asked her whether she was good, she replied, “I’ll let you decide that.”
Humility and confidence. Most 25-year-olds don’t carry those two qualities. Then, she sang Listen and I believe it was even better than Beyonce.
Melanie belted the words out effortlessly, without a single shake, pause or crack revealing nerves. She was completely CONFIDENT. This is when my mind wandered and wondered, “Is confidence nurture or nature or a bit of both?”
When I was 18, I was embarrassed when I had to answer a math problem on the chalkboard. This girl was singing in front of thousands of people and acted like she was telling them a story and demanded them to “listen”.
The producers kept flipping the camera to her family, her mother in particular. Each time, her mother was mouthing the words and making small gestures with her hands, as if she anticipated her daughter’s next move. This is a mother who was involved. This is a mother who spent hours helping her daughter practice. This is a mother who had her hard hat on tight, while she helped build her daughter full of confidence.
So many questions flowed through my mind. Did she nurture Melanie with constant reassurance taking an active role in promoting her passion to sing? Or, did she make her sing over and over again like Amy Chua, while belittling her and Melanie was just thick-skinned enough to take it? I believe it was the first. She cried tears of love, anticipation and admiration, as Melanie showered the crowd with her gift. I believe that she felt the judge’s words, as if they were providing feedback on her own performance.
All of these things may have been true, but what “exactly” was the mother’s formula that equaled such confidence in her offspring at such a young age. Learning confidence early in life is like learning a language when you’re young. You grasp translations with light speed versus the hours of repetition it takes as an adult. Children are much more clear and open-minded to learning.
I hope I can figure out the formula that Melanie’s mother has derived, so that I can someday stand balling my eyes out with pride, as my daughter achieves her own dreams.
Now, all I can hear is Julie Andrews singing and skipping I Have Confidence in the Sound of Music.
I have confidence in sunshine
I have confidence in rain
I have confidence that spring will come again
Besides what you see I have confidence in me!