Yesterday I spent the day (all day) in middle school with my son as part of American Education Week. Have I mentioned that sitting through a day of middle school is exhausting? Yes it is. But fun also, to have a day to see your child’s typical day away from you. I’m thrilled that at 11, my son still likes having me there with him in a public setting.
Speaking of parenting: As a mom, there are few things harder than to watch one of my kids go through a tough time. I know you other mamas (and dads) know of what I speak.
My son has so many gifts and talents–of course I think this–and he’s a genuine joy to be around. He’s probably about the easiest going kid I’ve ever met; not much rattles him. But lately, he’s been having a tough time facing the fact that his athletic talent isn’t that of what some of his friends is. Don’t get me wrong, he’s no slouch out there. But, we happen to live in a neighborhood where the three other boys his age are somewhat freakishly talented. One can touch about any sport and magic happens. The other two each excel at their sports with ease, too. My son? If he wants it, he has to work at it.
And right now, he finds that frustrating. He sees his friends show up for any tryout and make the team with ease. If he wants to make a team, he has to work hard, very hard. And even then there are no guarantees.
So we’ve been talking a bit about this, about how yes, it stinks not to have the natural ability that others might have. But how if you want something badly enough, hard work can get you pretty darn far in life. I use my running as an example for him–I have friends who have incredible talent, who don’t have to work all that hard at it and yet, they can kick my arse any day of the week. Am I jealous? Sure, but do I work hard to try to make up the difference? Of course, because I love it and anything you love is worth doing well.
I don’t know that my son is quite old enough to connect all the dots yet and get it done, but I hope he is listening and tucking away the lessons for the future. I don’t care at all how he does in sports, just that he leads a healthy, happy and active life. But I do want him to understand that if he wants something, it’s worth working hard for it.
Does running come naturally to you or do you have to work at it? If you’re a parent, ever faced a similar situation with your kids?