This morning I returned to the gym for the first time in almost three weeks. It was not my choice to miss those 5:15 AM wake up calls; an injury sidelined me. Okay, okay, I could have adapted my moves. But that is beside the point – it was great sleeping in for a change.
I decided to shake it up a bit and experience a new gym this morning with some friends. As I rode the boot camp struggle bus, puffing and grunting my way around the room, I noticed inspirational quotes scattered around the room. The words, intended to inspire clients to return to the torture chamber, I mean gym, resonated with me through an entirely unrelated lens.
Of course, it is difficult to deny the awesomeness of friends who actually like to workout with me. They are truly awesome people. But what about our kids? When we tell them to be awesome, are we setting expectations too high? Or should we redefine what awesome means? When I read the word awesome, I think “exceptional” “amazing” “spectacular”. Perhaps we can communicate to our kids that it is okay to be their own genuine self, flaws and all, and that is awesomeness enough.
We all have our wishes, our dreams, our goals. There is only one way to get there – taking that first step. Remind your child, on those especially tough days, that taking that first step is key – the rest will follow. Wait, I feel a song coming on….
Let’s face it – our children are pretty spectacular. After all, they did spring from our loins and/or are graced by our presence and intelligence. However, that does not mean that their spectacular-ness will aid them in accomplishing their goals. As parents, one of the most important lessons we can teach our children is that despite their gifts and talents, it is their hard work and dedication that will dictate their success.
We do our children a disservice when we brag about their talent and neglect focusing on their efforts.
In middle and high school our children are trying to figure out their place in the world – where they fit in. Doubts about their abilities and their struggles with confidence are front and center as they compare themselves with others, navigate new social circles, and explore new learning experiences. As parents, we can encourage confidence by reminding them of past successes and friendships. But remember, never minimize your child’s feelings – they are real. With your support and reassurance and their attainment of new skills throughout their school career, they build up confidence and belief in their abilities.
Okay, well some days are better than others to work out, quite honestly. So let us take the “work out” part away and focus on….everyday is a good day. In my personal life, I have found appreciation for the “everyday” by counting blessings for the simple things: health, food on the table, clothes on my back, a sunny day, you know – all the stuff that brings us simple pleasures. Especially during these troubling times across the globe, we have so much to be thankful for: everyday is a good day.
Now, let us put the “work out” part back in.
Yes, every day is a good day to workout. Teach your child the physical, mental/emotional, and social benefits of getting outside and walking, running, biking, gardening – whatever it is you enjoy. Physical activity releases endorphins that help people manage everyday stressors.
Last week I volunteered at a community fundraising event at a local middle school. Grandparents, parents, teachers, students, and siblings as young as three participated in the two-mile challenge. Enormous smiles were on the faces of the runners after their tremendous achievement, no matter how far they ran. Strangers engaged in animated conversation, congratulating each other on their accomplishment, forming a new community of friends. They learned life lessons about perseverance, supporting others, and gained an internal sense of accomplishment. Can you imagine the impact this school community event will have on these children down the road?
Yes, working out is a great thing – usually. However finding inspiration that crosses over from the gym to career to raising children is an added bonus.
I wish you an awesome day of wishing, sweating, believing, and above all, goodness.
Now, time for my post-work-out recovery coffee.
Special thank you to Eric Warsaw from sweat-stc for sharing the wall art.