Don’t Delete the Awkward Pictures

Where’d You Grow Wednesday?
April 25, 2012
Special Edition for

For a few months on Wednesdays (or as close to Wednesday as I can manage) I have chronicled the ways I’ve chosen to grow through my life. It is a snapshot…a bite-sized version of intentional steps I take to improve myself. Very often it is not a painless process.

Some weeks are better than others, and I never shy away from the growth that is uncomfortable.

I Choose to Grow the same way I deal with my digital pictures. It’s easy to take hundreds and thousands of digital pictures and then delete all the photos that are not perfect.  I make a point to keep at least one awkward picture with every grouping that I print.  The awkward photos tell a story too…and I am not good at pretending that everything is perfect.

Awkward Picture of the Week

Saturday night, while I sat at my writing desk, Big Sprout, our nearly twelve-year-old son, came in and sat on the wooden music chair my daughter uses to practice her french horn. This is rather common behavior for him.  My husband trailed quietly behind him and lay down on the foot of our bed.

I should have thought, “This is going to be an important moment.”

I didn’t know that.

The conversation started rather simply… Big Sprout asked questions about how his dad and I thought he played in his two hockey games that day.

There was nothing about that conversation that I had planned.

After more dialogue than I can explain here, I hadn’t planned to say, “Your chances of making it the NHL are pretty slim.”  I hadn’t planned to watch his face sink and his eyes well. I hadn’t planned to get the look of “What the hell were you thinking?” from my husband. I hadn’t planned to feel like the worst mother in the world.

I scrambled back to better parenting when I explained to him that it wasn’t that I didn’t believe he could, but that it only matters that he put action behind what he believes about himself. I believe he is destined for great things, and I will do anything he needs to help him get there…but the work it’s going to take, has to come from him.

Doubting and dissecting every part of that conversation led to a blogpost on my sports blog. Dialogue started. Debate began. And now, that snapshot of parenting will be the feature topic of conversation on Hey Coach Tony’s ESPN radio show this upcoming Saturday morning. I hadn’t planned that either.

Sharing that awkward moment of our lives has led to growth for a lot of people…and had I just pretended it didn’t happen, the story would have ended there. Instead…the story continues.

To our son’s credit, he chose a better reaction than I could have possibly scripted for him. Instead of wilting with my comments or being pushed down because of them, he chose a new attitude about what hockey (and work) mean to him right now. He may not completely understand how it will pay off for him in his life, but he made a step on Sunday toward embracing work ethic…determination…grit. I couldn’t have been prouder of him… nor more relieved.

I didn’t take a picture of my son as he sat on that chair, with the background sillhouette of my husband on the bed. I didn’t need to. That image is a permanent part of me now.

I’m not sure who grew more in that moment, me or our son, but I know, without a doubt, we both made a choice to grow because of it.

What sorts of choices did you make to grow this week?

I would love to hear how you are choosing to grow.  Either comment here, or send me an email:


Copyright 2012     Meagan Frank                                Choosing to Grow

11 thoughts on “Don’t Delete the Awkward Pictures

  1. This is the job of parenting. Feeling your way, taking a misstep and admitting it, making it right, and then remembering the lesson. We are struggling with the “admitting it” process in our home now, so this has been timely.

    • I think the admission piece is NEVER perfect. Part of being able to admit the missteps is to be aware that you’ve made them. I think that worries me more than anything…what psychological damage have I done to my kids completely unwittingly? MMF

  2. So far I don’t have an athlete in the house. I have a musician, but it’s easier to tell him that he can be in a band. There are all types of bands, from underground garage local types to Wilco. My kids are a little younger, too, of course, and I’m grateful for this glimpse of your life. And I’d be curious to hear Sarah’s thoughts, as she has a soccer player in the family who would like nothing more than to be pro. Thanks for sharing, Meagan!

    • Thanks Jen! I hope your son absolutely rocks it. My husband is trying desperately to get at least one of our kids interested in being a rock star. I will be coming to you for advice. MMF

  3. Yes, I so get this. In a world where people try to attain perfection, they tend to gloss over the fact that people make mistakes all the time, and the point isn’t to avoid them, but to learn from them.

  4. I have been meaning to respond to this post – I keep getting sidetracked these days 😦
    A group of us were discussing this very issue the other day. I approached it a different way. I give my kids lots of encouragement and yes, sometimes I sugar coat it (mostly because I don’t know better or different!). Every experience, every sports year, every new school, their world gets a little bigger. They sometimes – usually – figure it out entirely on their own. When my son was released a few years ago from a particular competitive hockey team, I was glad not because he was cut but because I had nothing to do with it! It was objective, outside feedback on his ability. Done deal. My job is to help him move on…

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