Again, my husband being the practical minded one always thinks ahead. Martial Arts for his daughter was something he was preparing for, even at her birth. He was very intent on ensuring his little girl could defend herself at a young age. “I want her to learn discipline, but also to be able to protect herself at any moment, no matter what the situation” he would say. And he was right. It’s a great skill to have, for any girl or boy, and I never doubted that it would serve her well in the years to come. However, my brain is wired a little differently when it comes to my daughter. My left-side brain (and inner dreamer) always had visions of engaging Maya in activities that would bring out her charisma, energy and creativity. We started her in piano very early and then came Children’s Theatre for a short spurt. The singing lessons soon followed because I latched on to the fact that she LOVED to sing endlessly and had a pretty decent voice. So, one day, through our YMCA, we received a brochure for a local junior pageant. I thought why not? Could be fun and tie in all of her neat talents. After several weeks, she made it through the event, diligently attending all the initial practices. After everything was over, there was a brief moment when she truly felt sad for not ‘placing’ …but we convinced her that simply trying and doing her best is what counted most. I thought to myself, if she never does another pageant again, I’m ok with that. She’s ok with that. My husband is certainly ok with that. End of story. However, several months later, she received a letter asking for her participation in a pre-selection of Miss Teen of Alabama as a junior pre-teen contestant. Ok, I won’t lie. I immediately felt excitement for her and thought it would be great to try again. My husband admitted that he thought twice about even handing me the letter. I could appreciate that 🙂 Is pageantry really as integral to her well being and mental / physical development as Tang Soo Do (her current martial arts style) or gymnastics, her alternate sport? Well I sort of think so. It’s definitely a confidence booster and helps girls feel comfortable with themselves, especially with public speaking and performing. Not to mention, she would also bond the other girls and make new friends. How could this not be a positive experience??? In the end, both skills serve their purpose. It certainly gives her a nice balance between elegance, poise and inner strength. However, we have both always said that it’s Maya’s choice in the end and so far…she’s up for the challenge!