Where it all started....

Well, it started many years ago at a company called RPS. The company name changed and so did mine in 2001. From there, the road led us to the ATL and our own business. I left the road to have babies, but it sure is hard to take the trucker out of a Momma!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Failure, while not an option, is bound to happen. PREPARE!

My life has taken many turns and twists over my adult years.  Challenges here and challenges there.  My latest challenge is parenting.  Sure, I spent about 3 years as a nanny raising someone else's kids.  That was very different than having my own kids!  I often recall on experiences and past "lives" to face the present.

One such experience I am calling upon for the current kid situations, is my management days as a management trainer for FedEx.  While I believed in my job and my trainees, it was some pumping them up before setting them free to succeed.  One of the most impactful such pumping lessons was the showing of a Charlie Plumb video.  No idea who he is?  Google him!  He is a hero, although he claims he is not!  He is a motivational speaker that shares his life experiences as a POW and how he survived through faith (not just spiritual), commitment, pride, and resilience that allowed him to overcome anger, boredom, fear, and torture.

Some of his speech that has significance right now for me and the parenting of my kids include the following:

After losing the last basketball game of the season when he was young, Coach Smith told Charlie Plumb, "Whether you think this team is a bunch of losers or a bunch of winners, you are right."  The difference in success and failure is choice.  We all have that choice.

When you start blaming others for your misfortune, you suddenly give them control over your life.

If you teach your kids nothing but success, they will never know how to overcome the first downfall.  If you never teach a kid how to overcome downfalls, they will never know how to press on and bounce back.  They will pass the blame to others, giving up control and choose to be the loser.

So how is this relevant to what I am trying to teach my kids and what we face with other people's children?

I am trying to show them that they may not always have control of the issues they face, but how they view the outcome is what really matters.  If someone makes you feel bad by saying something mean, you can believe them and let them be in control or you can know you are better than their words and be the winner!

Now, teaching this and the understanding that they will not always be the winner are tough because always being the winner means you are always in control.  For my kids, until they grow up, they can only control the things that I see fit for them to control.  No, those things do not always end with them being a winner, but it ends with them having an understanding that win or lose, they are responsible for their choice and how they deal with that outcome.   At 4 and 3, there is very little they have control over, because they are the kids and we are the parents.

I like to think that by showing them that they need to not blame others and think of themselves as winners no matter the outcome, will serve them well when they face their first big downfall.  Downfalls for kids are very different from adult downfalls, but they are often tougher for a kid to deal with.  There are try-outs for sports, big tests, school play auditions, driver exams, teenage job applications, and on and on that could result in rejection or failure.  If a kid has never had to experience a failure before these points in life, that first major failure will be far more damaging than if they have learned along the way that not all in life will go their way.  Kids that know how to think of themselves as a winner even though the result may not be positive remain in control and roll with things in life.  I hope I am helping my kids get there as a parent!

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Double Standard of Parenting or The Paradigm Shift Parents Make

My 4 yr old wanted to take dance with some of her friends this year after I talked to her about it. It is offered at the preschool she attends. I decided the price was right and it would be fun for her!  Signed her up.  It is now the end of the year and the recital is upon us.  She is petrified!  DOES NOT want to dance on the stage!  She only wants to dance with her friends.   We have paid money, taken her to the sessions, and now this!  So what do I say??
"Are all of your friends crying and scared to dance?"
"No Momma."
"Well then you should be like them.  If they want to dance then you should, too!"

WAIT ONE F'ING MINUTE!!  Did I really tell my kid that?  Yep I did!  What will I be saying in 10 years?  The EXACT opposite!  "Just because all of your friends are doing it does not mean you should!"

So, after this moment of self examination, I began an even deeper look into why I was trying to push her.  She is 4!

Is it really something to push her to do or am I better to pick more important battles that will surely present later in life when it is more important to have her grasp the insight of her decisions?  I think I would do better to wait and battle with her at 14 over a miniskirt or low cut top that would make her look poorly than push at 4.  I think I would rather help guide her through her decision about which classes to enroll in for her sophomore year than drive her to a stage at 4.

Is being scared to dance on stage at 4 normal?  Hell yes it is normal!!  It is normal at 25, even!  She has not liked Christmas or end of year recitals in any of her classes and it is OK for a kid to not want to be at the center of attention.  If it was college graduation and she didn't want to walk on stage to accept her degree, then it would be an issue, but at 4 this is normal and something I should not push.

Am I pushing her to do things because I see other people doing it and I think I should as well?  Hell yes I do!  But does that make it right for us?  Probably not.  I love my friends and I love that Burke has friends, but beyond playing with friends, she always seems overwhelmed.  She would rather be a free spirit and enjoy being a kid instead of having some structured event.  We are all at our happiest when we just are.  What is that you ask?  For me, just are is a state of being a kid and learning as I did and my parents did, which is thru love and fun!  She can be a ballerina if she wishes and it doesn't have to be to a planned dance.  She can be a doctor and does not need the fancy costume I bought her to dress up in.  She can paint masterpieces on the driveway with water and a feather!  She can run in her pink dress, red socks, blanket for long hair, and flip flops as long as she is happy doing it.

There are only so many years where you can let yourself have all the fun possible without it costing a huge toll.  So, I am going to let the girl be a girl.  I will still be her Momma and there will still be rules, and chores, and bedtimes, and respect, but I won't push her to do things that might make her have to be grown up before she needs to.  I will let her enjoy her time as a kid!