Encouraging a Child

When looking for inspiration I read a lot and do research. Yesterday, I found a video clip on reddit. This is a “must see”. Let me give you the link. https://www.reddit.com/r/JordanPeterson/comments/c4061g/dont_interrupt_kids/?utm_medium=android_app&utm_source=share

For those of you who don’t want to view the video or don’t have time, this brought me to tears and gave me chills. A little girl is attempting a vertical jump like many individuals in CrossFit do. She “almost” gets it several times, but falls off. A few times she outright crashes. However, she keeps trying. She won’t give up. Eventually a man, assuming dad steps in. He kisses her and encourages her. On the next try, she makes it. Then the child lets out this primal yell in victory. The father does as well. She ends up leaping into his arms in celebration.

I love the fact that her dad gives her encouragement. I love seeing the joy on her face in accomplishment. However, this is not the part that made me blubber some tears. It was the fact that she refused to quit. It was beautiful. This is what we need to celebrate. Determination, work ethic, refusing to quit no matter how many times they fail. That is the example of a winner. That is a champion kid. Best wishes to her and that wonderful dad.

When we celebrate the fight and determination, that can always be replicated. Win or lose cannot. The outcome is never guaranteed. Even in our best efforts, the scorecard can be against us. Therefore, we must celebrate the spirit of fighting no matter what the score is. I am fortunate to have wonderful grownup kids that showed me this example when they were young. So many people give up when the scoreboard is against them, or if the likely outcome is a loss.

I remember one time, My middle child was playing soccer against a very prominent team. Our team had a few stars, but most of the kids were average at best. My son was a club player. However, this was a school team. When my son saw that others were emotionally defeated, he yelled at them, “I’m not done…come on”. My dad pride peacock feathers went into a full spread. I was probably strutting. They still lost the game, but the last 10 minutes of the game was a war.

We were always happy for our kids in their victories, but that never matched the feeling of seeing them slug it out, refusing to quit. This attitude is what winners are made of. This mentality spreads to other areas of life. Your outcome cannot be determined. Your attitude and fight can. It was refreshing to see that my kids based their joy after the game on their fight. There were times that they “won”, but they were disappointed in their performance. There were times when they lost and there was no lack of joy. Effort and attitude are everything. This puts things back in control of your child.

Please understand that I am not one of those dads that says, “oh well, you tried”. I hate losing. My kids hate losing. We never offered them an easy emotional out. We expected them to attack what they were doing like William Wallace of “Braveheart”. You can tell when your kids have the effort dial dialed up to “11”. This is what we celebrate. This attitude is worthy of praise.

Motivational speaker, pastor, and author Eric Thomas was quoted saying, “If you are not where you want to be DO NOT QUIT, instead reinvent yourself and change your habits”. We have to remember as parents that we must train ourselves as well. Only through determination, learning, and being open to new tactics can we be the best for our kids. They must see examples, not just hear empty words. This is why real parenting is different. You must lead the way, not lay around barking orders. What are you doing to challenge yourself? Are you taking risks? If your adventures don’t make you nervous, maybe it’s the wrong adventure.  Nobel Prize winner Andre Gide once said, “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore”.

The last point would be to constantly learn from your children as well. Ask them their opinion about what you are doing. Show them that you value their opinions and want to hear their thoughts. Anything that encourages communication and value is the way to go. From personal experience, I have learned so much more from my kids than I think they ever had from me. A kid can really be a resource of wisdom. However, they must know that you believe in them.

Celebrate the right attitude. Celebrate the fight. Celebrate new challenges. Be the best dad possible.

Deacon