Slowly growing into adults, my children show me continuously that my husband and I have taught them well. In turn, they have reminded me of some of the basic rules of life lately…like I somehow forget that this is what we should do, kinda thing. Funny how we – the adults – can be reminded how to act by our children.
- Be a good sport: Both of my children are ski racers, and it’s a brutal mental sport. On the best of days, races are won and lost by .01. Look at any ski race at the FIS level (sometimes even below), and the top 10 will be separated by no more than .05. It’s insanity, given that you blink slower than the differences between some of these racers. My son raced in a US trial series for an upcoming international race this weekend, and he hipped out on both runs of the 1st race, losing to one of his classmates. He walked over, patted his classmate on the back, and congratulated him. It may not be your day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t congratulate the one whose day it is.
- Don’t blame: On that same day, it might have been easy for my son to look for blame. All too often in youth sports, parents throw the blame for a bad game/day back on the coach, and this becomes a learned skill on the child’s part; I’ve seen it more times that I care to admit. However, my son is maturing, and even though he was frustrated at his coach for a few reasons, he looked at his father and said, “I’m overthinking things. I need to figure this out on my own.” Instead of taking his mistakes out on others, he looked inward. It reminds me of what someone once said to me about computer problems, “The problem is usually 18 inches from the screen.”
- “Just keep swimming”: Our beloved Dory reminds us that when things get tough, you just keep swimming and persevere through the trials. Still suffering from post-concussion syndrome from a concussion she sustained in August, my daughter’s skiing has been exrtemely limited. To say she’s internally frustrated is a gross understatement; yet, with the help of doctors, therapists, her coaches, and her trainer, she’s been moving forward, seeing progress with her symptoms, and keeping her sight on both her short and long terms. She refuses to give up, and her perseverance and positive attitude honestly surprise me at times. I might have thrown in the towel to a serious pouting session by now.
- Push yourself: You all know I loathe standardized testing. It’s an abomination to the teaching world. While I could rant about this for hours and hours, this is not my point. Wanting a shot at a small, elite, private New England school, my daughter has to obtain a certain ACT score. Her 1st set of scores were abysmal, and her second set were mediocre, at best. She asked for a ACT tutor, and is managing 4-5 hours a week of tutoring (to my checkbook’s dismay) on top of a demanding travel, training, and academic schedule. Her scores went up significantly on the Fall test, but she’s still shy of what she needs. While no other student in her school signed up for this latest round of testing based on their schedules, my daughter continued tutoring through a major travel camp, got several weeks ahead of her school work, and took one last round of testing before the spring this past weekend. It would have been easy for her to just wait until after the season is over after the Fall round of testing, but she knew to have a shot, she has to work insanely hard for what she wants.
- It’s OK to change your dreams: At no age are you locked in anywhere. Regardless of where you are, if you want change, then work for the change you want. Ever since our daughter was around 7 years old, she’s dreamed of going to Dartmouth and skiing for them. As she grew older, there was no notion that this school didn’t have the major she wanted – it was all about skiing. After our tour last fall, she was on cloud nine, yet neither my husband or I thought this school was the complete right fit for her. After several more school tours, talking to girls who skied for said school and girls who skied for other schools, my daughter finally came to the realization on her own that skiing for an elite Ivy League school and managing the academics there would leave her no time for life; she finally recognized, as well, that she needed to choose a school for what she wanted to major in, not for the ski team – hal-le-frickin-lu-yah. It’s not that she’s changed her dreams of skiing, but she’s made the realization that maybe that Ivy school wasn’t the right choice for many of the above stated reasons. She’s broadened her scope and is looking at larger state schools, both in the East and West, that have the major she’s interested in – and they are still amazing ski programs that could potentially allow her to take skiing to the next level if she continues to progress. She’s modified her dreams to make the reality she wants, and she just keeps swimming through to get what she wants.