Wednesday, October 2, 2013
You don't have to be the best but...
...It would also be great if you did more than just stare at your shoes.
I feel like this powerful message isn't getting out there enough. Or if it is, my kids are missing it because they're too enthralled with their shoes.
I'm not just talking about sports. It's life people! As humans I think it should be a requirement that we put forth effort. I'm pretty sure I need a shirt that says "it's not okay to just exist."
I'm also pretty sure my kids are on a mission to prove me wrong. They are often all to content to merely exist.
Take running for instance. Cross country has been nothing short of a miracle for my 3 sons. In the short 6 week period that they participated they built up their stamina and endurance. It sounds impressive, but you should have seen their starting point. While many friends were training hard and setting goals to finish in the top 10 we were offering to pay each boy $1 if they didn't walk at all during the race.
Some of them never accomplished this goal.
The first time they ran all out and actually pushed themselves they each were convinced they were dying. You know that tight chest burning sensation you can get from a really tough workout? The one that goes away as your heartbeat slows down and you cool off? Apparently none of my sons had ever felt that feeling. How could they get to the ripe old ages of 7 and 9 and never have pushed themselves physically? I'm sure this speaks to my lack of parenting skills in some way or other....
How about with schoolwork? We live in the land of get it done as fast as you can, even if it's something you enjoy or are excited about. They are all about minimal possible efforts. Some parents and I were discussing a class project today and one parent was wishing we had seen the rubric outlining the expectations so our kids could get the possible grade. Another parent thought that as long as the kids saw the rubric they would try their best and whatever grade they got would be fine. I gave her the deer in the headlights shocked face that she assumed all the kids tried their best. In my sons case, he saw the expectations and put in the most minimal effort and time that he could get away with. And this was a project he was excited about! I shudder to think what will happen when he has a project he's not excited about. He in no way understands the definition of above and beyond and I swear that's practically my life motto.
In all things we are beginning to have discussions of expectations to conquer this problem of merely existing rather than mastering existence. As we drive to school we begin the conversation with "you don't have to be the best but..." Then we discuss that they do have to try their best and discuss examples of trying hard. As we go to sports and other activities it's the same thing. I'm thinking of adding these discussions in at home as well but still working out the kinks. What do you think?
You don't have to be the best at bowel movements but... could you try to wipe, flush and spray some air freshener?
You don't have to be the best eater but... could you try a bite of everything and make sure you say it don't spray it?
You don't have to be the best at getting ready in the morning but... could you try to make it out of the house in clean clothes (no commando allowed!)
Too much? I know, I know, I set crazy high expectations!
Or maybe I'm not tough enough?
Feel free to drop me a line. I love stories of commiseration, welcome your ruminations and, in this instance, welcome your suggestions on how to get kids to put forth effort in their lives.