Have you ever considered how much we learn from our kids? I personally feel like my kids are teaching me things all of the time. They may be lessons that I have learned many times or long ago, but my kids will remind me of those lessons daily. One of the biggest things that I see over and over again with my kids is persistence and overcoming obstacles. In any human’s ordinary, everyday life there are obstacles that get in the way. We can do one of two things. We can give up and let the obstacle defeat us and prevent us from going on; or we can hold our ground, stay on course, and come out on the other side a better person. I can’t tell you how many times I have been faced with something that I have let defeat me because I gave up. It got too hard and I just quit. How about you? Have you ever started a diet and then it got hard so you gave up? Have you ever wanted something really bad, but to obtain it took more work than you were willing to put in so you gave up? It happens all the time. The thing is that we know what we are supposed to do. We know that we aren’t supposed to give up. We know that we should push through. We even teach our kids this. I find myself telling my kids almost every day to keep trying, to work harder, to not give up; yet I am quick to give up on myself. I know I am not alone in this. Why, though? Why do we give up on ourselves and try to teach our kids not to? Are we really being an example for them? Is it because we are weak? It is because we don’t care enough? Why? I think it is a little of both. I think we are human and, therefore, we are weak. We make mistakes. We also don’t care enough about ourselves. It is easy to tell your kids not to give up and to keep fighting because we care more about them than we do about ourselves. It shouldn’t be that way, but it is. As I sit back and reflect on my kids, I see example after example where they have stayed the course even when things got tough, and I rejoice in their accomplishments when they overcome something that stands in their way. Both of my kids are examples to me of persistence and overcoming obstacles.
My youngest faces challenges every single day, at every meal, every snack, and every opportunity to eat. This has been a challenge she has faced since the day she was born. She has had many setbacks, and many tears have been shed. What she has faced in her life could have broken her so many times, yet she still gets up and faces each day head on. It hasn’t been easy for her by far, but she has somehow turned out to be this amazing kid. Yes, she has troubles. Yes, she gets angry. Yes, she has anxiety. You know what? That’s ok because despite all those obstacles, she picks herself right back up and keeps trucking along. Some days are really hard. Other days are a breeze. Yesterday was a good day. Yesterday was a triumph. Today, things didn’t start out that well. Sometimes that happens, but she doesn’t give up. Ever. She is a fighter. She is my hero. I am proud of her. If she isn’t a daily example of overcoming obstacles, I don’t know what is. I have learned a lot from her. If she can deal with all that has been thrown at her and still come out on top, I have to believe that I can too.
My oldest provided me with a huge example of persistence this past weekend. About two years ago, she began working on a higher-level vault in gymnastics. It was what she needed to compete at the next level. She was afraid of it, but she kept working on it in practice. One day I got a video from her of her actually doing it. She was so excited. Yes, she was still scared of it and it wasn’t perfect, but she did it. She overcame her fear. Then just before the competition season started last year, we found out that she had a Salter Harris fracture in her wrist. Not only was there a fracture in the growth plate, but part of the bone was also fractured. She had been doing gymnastics on it for weeks before we went to the doctor. You see, in the sport of gymnastics, the gymnast’s body always hurts and they develop a very high pain tolerance. It is hard to determine when a pain is serious enough to warrant a visit to the doctor. She was fighting through the pain. She kept going. Anyway, she ended up in a wrist brace for 2 months and was unable to do any upper body weight bearing activities. Well, when she was cleared to return to gymnastics, she was slow to get back on the vault. After not doing it for months, the fear had returned. The coaches were also cautious and were very slow at easing her back into vaulting. Vaulting is very hard on your wrists and they didn’t want the injury to come back. All season, she competed a lower level vault and got really low scores all while trying to get back the other vault at practice every day. She just wasn’t ready for the big vault again in competition but it didn’t stop her from working on it. Fast forward to the summer after competition season had ended. She began working the big vault seriously again and was having some success even though she was still afraid. Then we moved, and she started a new gym. She was hesitant but she was still working the vault until another set back hit. She injured her foot and was in a walking boot for 3 weeks. She slowly had to ease her way back into vaulting again with the fear returning once again. This past weekend was her first competition with her new team. Four days before the meet, she was told that she would be scratching vault, meaning she wouldn’t be competing it because they didn’t think she was ready. Then the day before the meet, the coaches decided that they would let her do a timer for her first vault (a partial vault without actually flipping it) and then they would spot her for her second vault on the flip. She was so excited but also very nervous. You guys, she got out there and flipped that freaking vault without the coach touching her (it’s a big deduction if he does)! Her other coach was jumping in the air when she did it. I almost dropped the video camera. What an exciting moment it was! No, it wasn’t the prettiest vault ever, and yes, she was terrified. She overcame it and just went for it. What is even more amazing is that she placed 5th on vault that night. How in the world that happened, I don’t know. If that’s not an example of persistence, I don’t know what is. She kept working even though she was afraid and even though she was in pain. She didn’t give up.
I am reminded daily by kids not to give up, to freaking go for it, and to not let things get in my way. I am working hard not to give up on my dreams. Writing this blog is something that I have wanted to do for a long time but I kept putting it off. I kept letting other things take over my time and energy. I let things get in the way out of fear. I was afraid of what people would think. I was afraid no one would read it. I was afraid of looking dumb. I’m not a writer. I make spelling and grammar errors in every post. Sometimes I write about things that stir up a lot of emotions and I am afraid to hit the publish button. Sometimes a post will be in my head for days before I get the courage to write it. I tell my kids to go for it. I see them do it all the time. I finally realized that I need to be an example to them just as much as they are an example to me. I can’t let obstacles keep me from living. I have to get up each day just like my youngest and face whatever obstacles lie in my way. I have to not let them keep me down. I have to get back up. I have to keep pushing trough and face my fears just like my oldest. I have to I have to climb the mountain not matter how long it takes and freaking jump off the edge.
Do either of my kids know that they are teaching me just as much as I am teaching them along the way? I highly doubt it (until maybe they read this one day). I need to remember the lessons they have taught me, the lessons that I taught them. I need to apply it to my own life. I’ve said this before, you just have to put on your big girl panties and just do it.
What lessons can you learn from your kids? What have they already taught you? Let me know! Isn’t ironic how your kids can end up teaching you the thing you try to teach them? Lesson learned for sure.
Anchored and Learning,