Monday, June 30, 2008

Cannonballs: If you don't believe in yourself, then who will?

Perseverance
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.

90classy comments:

MommyTime said...

Excellent, thoughtful, so much better than a tired old "get back on the horse" metaphor. I LOVE this post. Thanks for the reminder of where confidence is best placed.

And. I love this blog.

zdoodlebub said...

Yay! I'm so glad I found your blog. You are a breath of fresh air...positive and uplifting. Thank you!

MommyTime said...

Wheeeee...... I've NEVER been the first commenter anywhere before -- let alone here. !! :) !!

LaskiGal said...

And . . . another chapter begins.

"Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish. " -- John Quincy Adams

Good for you, OHmommy . . . you're back where you belong :)

Mandy said...

Definitely jump in full force with your cannonball.

We love this blog!!!

Thanks for sharing with us!!!

Courtney said...

I am so, so, so happy to have you back! I am glad you found it within yourself to come back to where you belong. I look forward to the next step in your journey.

Kathryn said...

Written like a true classy lady. :)

Melissa said...

I think your cannonballs are awesome...is it bad that sounds a little obscene? ;) Welcome back!

krissy said...

Glad that you are perservering and setting examples for all to see.

Just remember that you will never make everyone happy. But if 80% of people love you....then you are blessed.

Glad to see you back.

momof3crazykids said...

Classy!
Great post. So glad you didn't stay gone too long.

Jeni said...

Excellent post and double-excellent on the advice of perseverance! And by the way, what's not to love about you and your "classy Chaos" anyway? To thine own self be true and I think you demonstrate that to the max! Peace, my friend.

Kellan said...

Now ... WRITE!!

Anglophile Football Fanatic said...

I'm so glad you are back & posting again, dear. You got the nail on the head. You have to keep getting on the horse when you get bucked off.

A Whole Lot of Nothing said...

This made me happy.

Eve Grey said...

Excellent post. I read this aloud to my husband. Good reminder of how to parent when the going gets tough for them. One of our boys was the EXACT same with skating but I made him finish it out. He didn't improve but after reading this he is getting back out there again in the fall! (:

maggie said...

Beautiful post, and welcome back. :) Not that it's as important, but lots of us believe in you, too.

Immoral Matriarch said...

Can we start planning our dinner and drinks at BlogHer now?

CelticBuffy said...

Hope you do great big, whopping, cannonballs and enjoy every second of it! :)

Erin said...

Isn't it funny how, when we're busy teaching our kids, we learn so much about ourselves?

Glad you're back!

beth said...

I was so excited to see you in my feed reader tonight.

Perfect post- I am so glad you worked things out.

Tootsie Farklepants said...

I've got something for you on my blog. MUWAH!!

xoxo

Chelsea said...

Wonderful! It's so nice to "see" you again! No need to respond to this comment... :)

Secret Agent Mama said...

You are one classy lady. For sure, for always, for real. Much Love!

Enjoy your time at Mama & Tato's!

carrie said...

Thank goodness we have our children around to teach us a thing or two, huh?

Cannonball Away!

zoeyjane said...

and that is the parent i grew up wanting to be: one who guides, not teaches.

Mr Lady said...

I am so glad to hear it.

LunaNik said...

Mwah ;)

Irene said...

Great attitude!

Krystyn said...

Way to go, OHMommy! Persevere like no other!

Karen said...

Cannonball! She's back in the water and very proud of her accomplishments.

So glad you persevered through this, while teaching me to do the same. Classy, indeed.

Beth (A Mom's Life) said...

I hope your cannonball is the biggest splashiest thing around! So glad you decided to jump back in!

Smart A$$ Mom said...

yay! wonderful tie in with the guidance. I love when stories are pulled together delicately at the very end! The best parent you can be is the one leading by example(or hypocrisy-which I *DO* do).

duchess said...

We're all very proud of you!
(and we're glad you're back)

Allison Says said...

I'm SO happy to hear all of that! (Congrats to your son AND you!)

Also glad that she confessed. Perhaps she didn't realize quite how awful what she did was.

Yay!

Jennifer said...

good for you! :) i'm glad you are back!

GREAT cannonball!! :)

Rachel said...

Way to go Jay, and way to go Mommy!
Beautiful post and a great reminder to all of us.
Heart you.

Tracey said...

YAY!!!! I had a feeling that you just needed a rest. This post was lovely. Very sweet way to compare parenting our children to taking care of ourselves.

Can't wait to read your blog for a long,long time!

Ali said...

ah...i love him saying he's proud of himself and his cannonballs.

:)

Lisa said...

You are fabulous.
Really, really fabulous.

You're a wonderful mother, a wonderful wife, and an overall wonderful person.

So glad you're back. Wouldn't have been the same without you, my friend!

MamaWise said...

I have a feeling my oldest is going to be just like Jay. He won't let me wash his hair without screaming lately.

Cheri @ Blog This Mom! said...

Good for you!

The Sharitz Family said...

1) I'm glad to see you post again- I love your blog!!
2) You're doing for your son what my mom did for me, and believe me, it worked. That's how I plan to do things with my son, too!

Crystal D said...

Yep, a child's lessons are not lost on a parent. Right now I am struggling to learn patience as I am teaching it.

Beth said...

Good for you, good guys do win!

Kim said...

I second Maria.. when are we planning our get together for Blog Her..

This post is full of awesomeness.. good for you OhMommy..

renatamic said...

this post, this blog...definitely classy. and a great leader by example to your children and to me too!!! and congrats to jay on the cannonball, each day he gets closer to being a true 'big boy.'

welcome back!! missed you while you were on hiatus. mwah!!

Marmarbug said...

I am so glad that you are back!!!! I love reading your stories!

TONYA said...

Great job mama. He'll thank you for this and maybe next time he doesn't want to do something he'll remember the ice-skaing and swimming.

NerdyRedneck Rob said...

I got tired of being perseveriant and quit!

(much to the horror of every English teach or prof I ever had I LOVE to make up words!)

JoeinVegas said...

Awesome!

Bento Addiction said...

Wheeeeeeeeeeeee ! WTG inner peace , confidence is exactly what we all need ! Welcome back .

Helen E.M. Wright said...

Good for you!! It bothers me when people take their children out for similar reasons. They really don't understand that they are actually doing worse to them.

We are firm believers of the get back up on the horse philosophy. The other day we were at a gymnastics centre for a party. Our son was doing the balancing beam and it was quite high. He got to the end and fell. After a minute or two we made him get back on. We want him remembering that his last time doing it...he did it!! Not that he fell.

Indy said...

I was hoping you were going to say that today. I knew you couldn't stay away too long.

chris said...

That was quite inspirational! I look forward to more...

DysFUNctional Mom said...

I am SO glad you're back!
You put so much thought into every detail of mothering, and I admire that.

Happy Days said...

Great Post! I am glad you are back at it!

Miss said...

*claps, then hugs you!*

Tena said...

Another great post!! I was praying you didn't stay gone long, we would have all missed you so much!

Angie @ KEEP BELIEVING said...

OHMOMMY!

I read you because you are entertaining and have cute stories, mostly. But every so often you come through with an absolute whopper like this one and I am blown away and OH SO INSPIRED to face life. This is really awesome.

KEEP BELIEVING

Nan Patience said...

Glad you're back! And yes, we do need to try to be those things ourselves which we want our children to be. It's okay to stumble as we strive to do and become things in life. Getting back up again is the real trick, and mastering something IS bliss.

Elizabeth said...

you have shown real class & your cannonball shows great potential and is in perfect form. ;-)

keep bloggin' away!

Danielle said...

This truly made me cry.

And this is why I read your blog.

And this is why you should be writing.

Thank you. So glad you are BACK!!

Laura said...

What a perfect post. Thank you for sharing.

We should all be proud of our cannonballs...no matter the size of the splash they make.

Way to go! Both of you!

CC said...

I'm glad you are back :)

And I hate this perserverance thing. My almost 5 year old is still in the "don't wash my hair I hate water!" phase in spite of 5 years of lessons....

Rhea said...

I like YOUR cannonballs, but mainly I am thrilled you are proud of your cannonballs. What a wonderful post! I'm glad you're back.

I have a new blog address and look, so if you have a free moment, come check it out.

http://texaswordtangle.blogspot.com

crunchiemummy said...

What a great post! Thanks! Awesome for your son -- sounds like you're all having a great vacation.

Clare said...

OH Mommy, I am so glad you are back! It sounds like you had a wonderful trip...

what a wonderful post, thank you for your blog, you provide humor, insight and laughter for this SAHM mom of one! Love, clare

Pink Lemonade Liz said...

I can't count the number of times my little miss Lauren wanted to quit gymnastics (even though it came easy to her)... we kept on and she won her first medal about a month ago - she hasn't wanted to quit since.

Perserverance is a wonderful thing!

Flea said...

HooRAH! Way to go! I love the story of Jay and swimming. OHmommy, are you proud of yourself? :D

THopgood said...

=))

Jenn said...

Yay, welcome back! Glad your break was brief, but cathartic none the less. So glad you're back on the "horse!"

Wendi said...

Glad to see you are back.
Now do what you do best...
Write!

Don Mills Diva said...

I KNEW you wouldn't stay away - you're waay too strong for that!

So glad you're back...

Tiffany said...

Welcome back and I am thrilled to be reading your amazing blog again - with not much time off I may add.

Good for you to rise above!

Grandy said...

As always, approached with nothing short of uber class. Good for you, classy lady!! Congratulations!!

BusyDad said...

So... how exactly does one do a classy cannonball? I demand a video!

Jeremy Neal said...

Yes, a video with a big splash! This should be fun, right!?!

mommynotes said...

Yay, you are back! I loved your post. I think our kids today do not have confidence or perseverance to keep trying. My Sarah just turned 6 in May and she is my shy, timid and down right terrified of new things, people and places so she wanted to try gymnastics last summer. She just sat there doing nothing and would not even try and if the teacher tried to help she would cry. So I kept praying and we kept taking her. Finally the end of fall last year she started doing flips, participating and recently she is able to complete her bridge and cartwheels. She is not going to be the next gold medalist but she has accomplished and overcome her fears. Kindergarten has also helped because she was on her own for 9 months guided by one of the best teachers I have ever seen who helped her come out of her shell. I have seen my child blossom. You have too. What a wonderful gift you have given your children. Sarah is going back into ballet this fall and I am so proud of her and she is proud of herself for being able to complete basic moves and overcoming those fears. Now my youngest daughter is my fearless one. She will jump off the couch and climb over the sofa. She is my wild woman.

Nap Warden said...

Wow...I had no idea all this was going on for you...I just thought you were on vacation. So sorry all this happened! Also very glad you haven't left the blogosphere:)

Blessings From Above said...

I was really bummed when I read that you may be taking a break. So glad that you decided to persevere!

Hope you are enjoying Chicgao!

((HUGS!))

skiplovey said...

What a great post. That's some good parenting there.

Glad you're back!

Elaine A. said...

Glad you are back. I'm a new reader but now devoted. : )

I went through the same "tough love" thing with my son last Spring when he didn't want to stay at preschool. So glad we stuck it out though. We have swim lessons coming up too and as I was reading what you wrote I thought, "Yeah, that will probably be Ben."

Here's to continuing your journey...

girlymom said...

Hey stranger... it's been awhile! You've been very busy, I am playing catch up on your posts. I decided to slow down for summer. Life has been hectic and busy, and darn it I live in Michigan and it's actually warm out...I'm outside! Hope all is well and you are enjoying the summer!

Kimber said...

Glad someone confessed. The person who wrote hateful things to me last November confessed too. WOnder if it was the same person? Anyway...none of that matters. Hold your head high and make a BIG splash!

Hugs.
Kim

Maureen said...

A Class Act indeed you are... and a great example of rising above the crap. Well done and welcome back!

Sue said...

Yippee, you're back! :)

Jill said...

I enjoyed your analogy! Life is way too short to mold yourself based on others views and visions.

Be all that YOU can be (ok, now I sound like an ad for the Army)...

Hope you're having fun at your parent's house!

Tam said...

AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!

April said...

Thank you for this. I struggle with how much to push my kids, and more and more, I'm learning to be more like you :)

Karen MEG said...

OM - you're a great mom, and a wonderful woman. Loved this post.
You're already making a huge splash, girlfriend!

 

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