Noun. Steady persistence in a course of action, a purpose, a state, etc., esp. in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement.
It is never too early to start teaching perseverance and never to old to remember.
When Jay was three and a half, I signed him up for ice skating lessons. I quickly learned that he would not become the next Wayne Gretzky. He screamed and cried on the ice as he desperately hung onto his teacher's hands throughout the first 8 week session. Never even remotely pushy, I tried to lovingly explain to him that all the other children were safe and I would never put him in harm's way.
He cried throughout most of the next 8 week session. He hoped his cries would be his ticket out of the rink but I had other plans. If I pulled him out, what would I be teaching him? I wanted him to stand on the ice safely and be overcome with self fulfillment. I wanted him to feel proud and accomplished.
You should have seen the look on his face when he stood on the ice alone and took his first steps. You should have heard him scream, "I am so proud of myself." The next day I pulled him out of skating lessons.
Exactly one year ago my uncle , unaware of Jay's fear of water, joyfully threw him into my parent's pool with his floaters on. As soon as Jay reached the surface he screamed. I knew right then and there that I would need to invest in private swim lessons. Costing a dollar a minute the investment was strenuous and hardly rewarding, for Jay cried during the first three months of swim lessons. $270 dollars completely wasted. Most sensible mothers would have had an incredible hard time watching their first born being practically tortured underwater and would have pulled them out. The other mothers at the pool glared at me, the teacher swore she never had another child scream for so long, I watched along silently hoping I was right.
After three months, I sat Jay down and again explained that I would never put him in harm's way and asked him if he remembered how proud he was when he stood on the ice. Yes, he remembered. Never even remotely pushy, I described the inner happiness he would feel as soon as he learned to swim.
You should see the look on his face yesterday as he cannonballed into my parent's pool and swam freestyle back to the steps. You should have heard him scream, "This is sooooooooo AWESOME!!! I love Babcia's pool. I love swimming!!!" Last month, I pulled him out of private swim lessons. Last year, I wasn't even able to wash his hair.
"Watch out!!! CANNONBALL." He yelled, 27 days short of being six years old. I watched him in admiration.
One of the things, I want so much for my children is for them to understand perseverance. I want them to be confident, independent, self worthy and proud. I want them to problem solve, ask for help, and I want them to proudly overcome difficulties. I want them to be proud of themselves. I want them to be happy.
Very rarely, if ever, do I tell them that I am proud of them. "Mama, are you proud of my cannonballs?" In which I reply, "Are you proud of yourself?"
The confident smile and proud eyes that happily respond, "YES! I am proud. My cannonballs are aweeeesome." Those are simply priceless.
As my children's first teacher, I have to believe in my own lessons. I have to listen to my own words. I have to be proud and not doubt myself. I am their example. If I don't believe in myself, they will not either.
Monday, June 30, 2008
Posted by OHmommy at 12:00 AM