Saturday, January 19, 2013

Benchmark #3 - Respect

I gained a nugget of wisdom today from an old friend. We were talking about CF (because it's all I ever talk about right now!) and I told her that one of the reasons I decided I needed to get moving is because my kids had only ever seen me sedentary, and I needed to lead them into a more active lifestyle. In response she said something that really made me stop and think, and it is this: If we do not allow ourselves to change, or we set an example of something that is not good for us (such as a sedentary lifestyle), then eventually our children will lose respect for us. Even more, they will lose respect for "mother"--that identity, that role, that office. "Mother" becomes a static point in their past who can not speak authoritatively into their lives because she has ceased to learn, grow, change, or to keep pace with them. I am not saying that we have to do the same things that they do or be enmeshed in their lives in an unhealthy way. On the contrary, they need to see that we are individuals--that our lives do not spin solely on their axes, but that we have lives that we are cultivating by being active, dynamic learners of human existence! If it so happens that we are sharing a common interest, even better!

There was this one hurdle to cross, however. In the past I didn't want my children to see me being weak, or at my worst. I didn't have respect for myself or what I had allowed my body to become. I knew I needed to do better. I knew that I was full of excuses. I knew that I hated how I looked. I needed to to regain respect for myself. 

You know those moments in life when someone says the simplest thing to you, but it is the wisdom for the moment to cover just about everything? Well, I was grousing to my coach about ring dips at class. I am terrible, even at assisted ring dips, so I asked my coach for an alternative. He gave me a thicker band (more assistance), set me up and told me to suck it up. More specifically, he got in my space, towered over me (he's a Marine officer and about 6'5") and said with a twinkle in his eye, but in all seriousness, "I hear your excuses and I'm not buyin' 'em."

Right. Thank you. Excuses are the front door to loss of respect. When I hear people whining about what they can't do, I want to walk away and say, "talk to the hand," but unfortunately I cannot walk away from myself. 

In the last three months, I have learned so much about what it means to be an example to my kids and demonstrate self-respect. We have all discovered the joy of exercising together. I am ashamed to admit that I used to be very private about exercise--I would not do it around the kids. I hated for them to see me sweat, I felt weak and out of shape and I did not want them to see at my "worst." However, I finally realized that they need to see me rise up and face my weakness, and that this in itself was leadership. I have allowed them to see me sweat, suffer, and be challenged. They share in my victories and miseries and I in theirs. I have done WODs with them that were tough for all of us. I am still usually last to finish, and there is no greater feeling than having my kids cheer for me saying "Come on, Mom! Just five more! You're almost there!" 

Matt is finding his niche with CF. He is already doing things that are pretty spectacular, and he throws himself completely into it. He enjoys the activity and the challenge. He is getting to know the  coach and the other kids at the box, and doesn't want to miss class. He is supporting his little sister who also thinks she is one tough cookie to be hanging and doin' with all the bigger dogs. She enjoys having his support.

I have raised my kids to have a deep faith and walk with God. Now I have to teach them to respect all of His creation including themselves. I guess that means I must start with me.

Matt easily clears a 24" box
Learning handstands
The CF Kids Woodbridge class is so fun and supportive!
Sibling support!
After a WOD together at home

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