Monday, 21 March 2011

'Stick With It' or Just 'Stick It'?

I know there are certain universally accepted “mom rules” the infamous “They” say we have to teach our kids: 

Respect your elders
Don’t talk with your mouth full
Don’t stick peas up your nose
Never give up

I thought I was doing a decent job at sharing these lessons (hey, an occasional jammed pea can be overlooked!) but lately I had to question whether or not I was actually making the grade. For the past two years, my little guy has been kicking butt in taekwondo (literally!). He took to it immediately and sailed through the various belts with ease… and a big smile on his face.
I was there as he beamed with pride upon mastering his first “jump sidekick”…. I was there when he aced the first tournament he entered... I was there when he finally clued in that hugging his taekwondo “Master” probably isn’t the coolest greeting ever…

Unfortunately, I was also there when he started complaining about six months ago that he didn’t want to go anymore. Really? He’s worked so hard and has earned himself a brown belt – notable AND fashionable! Seriously, he’s only four belts away from achieving his black belt – and he wants to quit now??

As parents, we teach them to stick with things… to persevere… to ‘Go for the Gold’… So, when are they allowed to teach us that perhaps there’s no shame in packing it in? Am I worried about the fact that he’s ‘giving up’? Or that I didn’t work hard enough to convince him to stay? 

As my only child (insert shocked gasps here!), maybe I’ve placed a bit too much importance on these kinds of decisions and how they will ultimately shape (or not) the person he becomes.

Which lesson carries the greatest amount of weight - Teaching them determination & seeing things through to the end? Or learning to find your own voice and deciding where your own interests truly lie?

Quitting is seen as a bad thing. But maybe the definition needs a bit of an overhaul. Maybe it’s less about walking away from something and more about just changing the direction you’re walking. 

Either way, I know I’ll always be incredibly proud of my little “mini-Martial Arts Master” no matter what he ends up doing… even if its just leaving his peas on his plate!

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