Being Your Own Good Parent
My son, Nikolas, recently got his black belt in Taekwondo. It was a pretty big deal and we are all really, really proud of him! And way more importantly – he’s really proud of himself and feels great about it. It took him 5 years. He did the work, and took the effort, and made the choice to do his best and to have a good attitude when he was at the classes… and it showed during the testing. But here’s what I also know: I had a big part in getting him to the classes – sometimes when he really didn’t want to go; and in financing the classes – sometimes when I didn’t really want to watch the money go out.
So why did I do it anyway, for 5 years? Why didn’t I just give in to his or my oft felt, “ I’m not in the mood today” sentiment? I knew it was a great thing for him at so many levels: for creating a foundation of making intentional choices through his life; to help him experience how goal setting with consistent small steps can lead to a big success; to remind him that he can do whatever he sets out with his mind and heart (and actions) to do; to increase his own confidence and self-esteem and leadership and sense of empowerment; and on and on. Of course!
But I know that about all the cool things I want for me too, right? Yet sometimes…many times, actually… I don’t follow through with my own stuff. (Don’t get me wrong, there are many things I do really well for myself – those just aren’t the focus of today’s Blurb.) Forgive me if this sounds a bit dramatic, but I think the real answer to why I didn’t flake out after a few weeks or months on helping get Nikolas’ butt to his TKD classes is because…well… he matters enough for me to stay motivated, because his worthiness and value are bigger and louder than the “I’m-not-really-in-the-mood-to-take-effort-for-long-term-good” attitude that often popped in (to both of our minds).
So…here’s our provocation for the week. Find something that means a lot to you, something that you’ve really wanted to do (or stop doing), something that you have let slide with an “I’m not in the mood today” mindset. Maybe it’s finishing a project, or taking a class, or saving some money, or losing 10 pounds, or buying/selling your house, or getting healthier, or stopping criticism, or making up with a family member, or ending/starting a relationship, etc. Now… be your own (“good”) parent. Decide your worthiness and value are bigger and louder than the, “It’ll take too long (and maybe it’s a little scary) so I’ll start some other time” voice. Think of the first step it would take to get that thing going…ugh, even if it takes 5 years! What would you have to do first? Now, if it was for your child or someone else you really valued – would you push them to do it? Would you metaphorically “make” them go to class today? If you wouldn’t – then maybe it’s time you just let yourself off the hook about it. But if you would – if you’d pull the “Mom/Dad Card” and say, “Yep, I’m asking you to do it anyway even though I can see you’re not in the mood,” then do that with yourself this week.
And the same way you know not to completely overwhelm kids…don’t pick 87 things, or even three. Pick one thing and begin some small, but consistent steps toward its fruition – because your worthiness and value are gigantic. Mine too. (I’ll be working on publishing my book. Ahh….)