Sunday, July 31, 2016

We Need To Back Off

Do your kids know what it’s like? Have they ever experienced it? Do they even know it exists?

How many kids have never experienced failure? Something really hard, that didn't come to them right away? How many adults? Our kids need to fail, which teaches them to learn, and regroup, process what they’ve done and how to come back next time in a different way. 

This happens all the time at my house....

"Dad, I can't do it"

At the park, in the backyard, riding their bike, unloading the dishwasher, brushing the dog. 

Lately it's been my daughter trying some new gymnastic moves. She's a stud athlete and was riding a bike at three years old, with no training wheels, ever. At four she was riding her bike ten miles next to me while I ran and she skies in Lake Tahoe.

But gymnastics is new and we've only really done some drop-in lessons at our local community center. She asks me to watch YouTube videos for examples, can I take pictures when she does a cartwheel. I LOVE that she wants to learn and get better, and I love that it's challenging for her and she's experiencing some level of failure and using the resources in her life to improve for next time! She has my wife and I for guidance, but she's doing much of it on her own, with her own ideas!

Failure throughout my life has made me stronger, helped me to reflect, analyze my preparation, purpose and what I can change for next time.

Two years ago I was in awesome running shape, probably the best of my life. I had a 50K on my schedule and really got in some long miles and was feeling good. Race day is always super exciting for me, getting up early, in the dark, checking my gear, what I'm going to eat, double checking, training is done - feeling positive.

Not so much. At mile 18 I started to vomit - had to walk. Ate a little food and felt better, more vomit at 19. At mile 20 I started feeling dizzy and my vision got blurry.


I was ready, I'd trained, eaten right - and I failed. At mile 22 I dropped out, first time I've ever pulled myself from a race.

I felt really bad, I was pissed off, angry, trying to figure out what happened. My wife was ecstatic. She was so happy I pulled myself from the race, it wasn't a doctor or race organizers, I was thinking about my health and family and not just finishing a race.

After processing my failed race, I learned so much. I'd trained really well but hadn't run enough hills. I started out too fast, there were a couple of guys who I was chatting with at the start and they went out faster than I usually do.

I should have backed off at the start - I think we need to back off with our kids as well. I'm reading a really interesting book right now about a woman who grew up in Finland and now lives in the United States. She says that kids in Finland are super independent, she didn't even talk with her parents about what major she was going to declare in college. I love that independence, she was given a long leash in her youth, explored on her own with direction from parents.

Our personalties are revealed during our most challenging times - let's back off, let our kids struggle a bit, see what they can do - and then see who they become!

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