Today is a bit of a rough day for me. My kids are going in two different directions today. The Girl has a dance convention and the Boy has a wrestling tournament, the End of the season tournament. I try to be at everything for my kids. Every match, every performance, every game but with two kids in activities it is tough to make them all. I have been lucky lately that the Girl’s and the Boy’s stuff has been on opposite weekends so I can make it workout. However, not this weekend. The Boy is with the Hubs and I am with the Girl.
I have gotten reports all day that the boy is struggling. He had a stomach ache to start, and recently, last few weeks, he has had a rough go on the mat. The Hubs relates it to toughness, he’s not tough enough. I, being mom, I tend to see other things. It can’t be my child is deciding to not be tough enough, there has to be another explanation. (Maybe he is lacking toughness and the drive to push though. Has he been taught that? I know I have not. That’s the coaches job right?…no). But he is the tallest kids in his group, which is selected by age and weight. So in his group at the tournament of 4 he the lightest (at 52 pounds 5 pounds can be a lot, 10%) and the tallest. So the skinniest longest and lightest his muscles are not defined nicely like most of the other kids, his tendons are because he has small muscles (mom excuse? Maybe. But also physics). I realize I am making excuses. I am his mom that’s what we do. How do I/ we (and by we I mean, me is coaches, his dad and teachers in all, our whole village) teach drive or toughness?
Last year wrestling came easy. He won a lot, did they bout him with easier kids? Who knows. I do think the boy was a bit cocky and expected it to come as easy this year and I don’t think he worked as hard in practice and by the time the end of the year came around he not only lacks drive he lacks fitness (practices have included less conditioning) and losing gets him down. He is not one who refocuses and tries harderharder he refocuses and works harder when positive things happen or he is winning. If he loses a match or has a rough day that kills his drive and he can’t recover and come out hard the next time. Well he probably could but he doesn’t. I am pretty certain he gets that from me. Sound familiar if you have been reading my blog it should. He is a mini me in all the ways I hate about me! Sigh….tears!
I ran into an old coach of ours from high school. He was my teacher in Jr High and High School and he coached the Hubs in football. His wife was my teacher as well. I babysat for them, sometimes the Hubs came along too. We are now friends! Anyway, this teacher/coach had his children in sports growing up and experienced some of the same things. He is always great for wisdom and advice but I got nothing from him today. No magic words of wisdom, well, actually there were a lot but all I had heard and already and tried to put in practice. One thing that stood out to me He said he let the kids decide what sport and when they would switch. “I always wanted it to come from them” meaning if they change sports or if they stay or if they play at all, it is their choice. We as adults know if they stay in the sport they started with by the time they are in high school they will be that far ahead and have colleges looking at them. And we think we now their potential…. Well, if they are ready for a change they are ready for a change. Even if it is not a sport that you like or you played. I am struggling.
So to answer my question of how do you teach a kid to have drive…you don’t. They either have it or they don’tdon’t, actually I believe they all have it. They are probably not doing the right activity or are overwhelmed in one way or another (maybe stuff at home is a problem, maybe a bully, maybe they are just over it). You can’t teach drive. You can motivate it, you can encourage it, you can even lecture it. They have it. They are who decide whether or not to use it. I guarantee it is in there somewhere and I bet you have seen it in you kid! My boy is tough! So tough kids are afraid of him. Where was that boy today? It might be time for my boy to move on to Basketball like he has said he wants to next year. We will wait to decide that until next year! It might be time just for a break. He has been going on these intense tough guy sports since August. I want him to go out there and put all he has on the mat in his last day but I guess he was????????? Idk
What does that say about me? ….nothing. As parents we need to get out of the kid’s way. I wish I could pep talk him into getting out of his head and focusing and doing as well as I know he can! Kids don’t know how to say they are spent. And sometimes we don’t know how to listen. My son is 9 I get so frustrated when I see him give up. But do you know how many times he has seen me give up? (No excuse) If not doing the dishes counts it is a lot! I can’t be embarrassed by my son not having the killer drive. I can be embarrased that that is what he sees me do regularly. Gotta revaluate myself and what I am teaching! All I can do is love him through this tough spot in his wrestling career…which may be over right now but he needs love from me. He needs to hear me say “I love watching you wrestle” or “I love you, son.” He doesnt’ need to hear me say “I love seeing you win”
So parents no matter what your kids do. Let them work through it. Try hard to motivate but don’t take their failures or success personal. They are personal lessons for our kids to learn. No matter how hard we want to we can’t do it for them. Just like in baseball the kids get treat tickets, win or lose they should also get hugs and love, win or lose. Let’s stop defining ourselves with our kids successes or failures and let them be loved win or lose. I wish I could give my son a hug and a mommy cheer but I can just write about it. I hope he can carry some excitement into baseball. Wrestling is over, now onto baseball. Even though wrestling didn’t end well it is great time for a new beginning! if only all real life problems had seasons to change and restart fresh when we needed them.
Whatever they do I love watching them do it (even in the losses) The Boy impresses me with his skills and his drive and toughness. The Girl is amazing on stage I love watching her dance. I probably critique her turns and struggles too much too. She is in an advanced workshop today and is having a bit of a rough one too. How can I get my kids to just drive through work hard and enjoy what they love even when they are not winning all the time. In real life you don’t always win you have rough days and you suck sometimes. But you can’t give up, ever! Do what you love and the drive will come easy…the work is hard, that is different. the hard work will pay off later. she is being challenges and I hope at the end of the day she will be encouraged by her hard work. The Boy I hope he goes up and gets his third place medal and shakes hands with the kids who got him this time. I hope he can look at the year and learn from it. Go on and know how he can do better next time. If he doesn’t know be willing to work on it. I want him to look at the bright side (that is not so much a trait he has inherited from me, want him too.)I love watching me kids do what they love and have fun! Love watching your kids and tell them that. Model the behavior you want them to copy. Always tell them you love them!
I will continue to work on modeling positive things for my kids to copy. My Son being my mini me in the worst ways. I want him to be the good of me in Mini form. I will use this as inspiration to not get down on myself but to stay motivated and push through! And always drive, even when I am overwhelmed!