My ten year old daughter has been competing in gymnastics for a few years. There have been many ups and downs, and I've learned much from these experiences. She trains hard, gives up playdates and sleepovers to be in the gym, and she has the hands of a man who works construction sixteen hours a day.
Gymnastics is tough, because as phenomenal as you are in practice, it doesn't matter if you don't perform the day of the meet. You have about four minutes to showcase your abilities. You don't get to run the play again, and you don't get another at bat.
You get one go. And the winner is the girl who does the best that day, in that moment.
At one of our parent meetings, my daughter's old coach told all the parents to watch what they say to the kids. She told us that over and over again, in her years of coaching, she sees parents focus on the negative. Ninety percent of a routine may be incredible, but all their child hears about is the ten percent that needed improvement.
Too many parents focus on what goes wrong, and not what goes right. What happened with the fall on beam? Why didn't you finish your twist?
I realized the other day that in regards to parenting, I do this same thing with myself. I love my kids all day, I hug and kiss them at night. I make them lunches and do hundreds of loads of laundry. I get them where they need to go, and tell them what they need to hear. I do so many wonderful things every minute, every hour of the day.
Truthfully, most of what I do every day I do for my kids.
But I make mistakes, just like every other parent. I yell when I shouldn't, and sometimes I forget to pack a snack in the lunchbox. There are days my kid is late to practice because another kid wasn't in the car on time, and there are days my patience is not what is needed to handle the situations in front of me.
I'm flawed. I admit it.
The trouble is that when I do get something wrong, it's all I think about. I relive the moment over and over again, feeling not so great about myself. My entire day could be roses, but if I miss a great hit at my son's baseball game it stays with me. Sometimes into the next day.
Most of the parents I know have this same tendency. What we fail to realize is that our kids need us to be flawed. If they see us make mistakes, they learn that life goes on. They accept that no one is perfect.
And if we miss that big hit at the game, they learn to deal with disappointment.
Today, I'll be celebrating the ninety percent I do right, and accepting the ten percent I get wrong. I won't try and change it, I won't wish for a do-over.
I'll accept it, and keep marching. There is much to be celebrated when we focus on the good, and much to be learned when we aren't who we strive to be.
Happy Thursday...last day of school for us here. Bring on summer!