Many of my childhood weekends were filled with kid stuff—playing outside, wading in the creek, playing with dolls and roller-skating.
However, there was a short time when I was on the pit crew of my dad’s racing team, and that was major. Not really your normal kid weekend.
In my mind, my dad was Richard Petty.
I don’t know if my dad could beat your dad up, but he could totally beat your dad to church. He loved fast cars. My mom was a pretty cool wife for letting him explore this dangerous passion. He raced Enduro carts. Have you ever seen those?
Basically, my dad’s entire body was inches off the ground except for his head. Cool, right?
Often, he would go to these races alone for some guy time. Then, sometimes, we got to go with him!
On one particular race day, something happened that stamped more than a memory on my heart. My dad invited me to be on his team. I couldn’t have been older than 12 or 13. He said something like, “Honey, I need to know how my time is on each lap. Do you think you could hold up my time on this sign as I come around?”
My heart was pounding. I didn’t know if I could do it. But I wanted to be on his pit crew so badly. So, with a little bit of fear, I said, “Yes, Dad!”
As he would fly by me around the track, I would scramble and get the time from someone, like my sister or my mom, and put the time on my sign.
It’s funny that I don’t even remember what I was wearing, if he won, or if his time was good or bad. Here’s what I remember: He let me do something that felt bigger than me. He invited me into big responsibility and he trusted me.
I learned something new through an experience that I wouldn’t have learned in a lecture. I felt important. My dad’s confidence in me gave me confidence.
Our kids just want to be on our pit crew. Not when they leave our nest, but when they know it’s not quite time and we trust them anyway. They want to try big things when it’s safe. And they don’t want their face rubbed in the dust by the track if they drop the sign or mess up.
That day felt huge for me.
I am capable of big things. . .because my dad showed me so.
How can you surprise your kids with an invitation this week to a big responsibility?
How can you build confidence and show your trust by simply inviting them to be a part of the “pit crew?”
They are ready and waiting to do big things with you!
Courtney DeFeo is a popular blogger, the creator of ABC Scripture Cards, which are sold nationwide, and the author of “In This House We Will Giggle” (coming 10/7/14). A graduate of Auburn University, she has a background in marketing and public relations, and has worked for Ketchum Public Relations and Chick-fil-A. Courtney and her husband, Ron, currently live in Orlando, FL and are the parents of two young girls, Ella and Larson. You can read more from Courtney on her blog, Lil Light O’ Mine or connect with her on Twitter, @lillightomine.