Monday, July 23, 2012

Bariatric Betty has an attitude

It's all in the attitude.  How you interpret what happens around you, when you hear bad news, when you hear about something wonderful that someone has done...  Your personal take on everything is shaped by your attitude.

I'm praying for all the families and friends of the victims in Aurora, Colorado.  I'm praying for the family of the shooter.  And while I cringe in horror at the unspeakable violence, I give thanks that more didn't die.  It seems amazing to me that with 70 people shot, the fact that the deaths were limited to 12 very loved people is close to miraculous.  I think about the girl who wasn't injured but stayed in the theater instead of escaping so she could keep pressure on the neck wound of her friend, or the boy who died shielding his girlfriend and I find inspiration.

Does this mean I find the silver lining in everything?  No.  Am I always positive?  Definitely not.  But I try to make a concious choice to react in a positive way as much as I can. 

This morning I was getting ready for couch-2-5-k training, getting ready to finally start week 5 after delaying it in hopes that my sons would catch up.  The thought of jogging 3 5minute 1/2 miles with 3 minute walks in between was stressing me out a bit, and I was nervous on how I would handle it.  I had told the kids that they should jog as long as they could and then walk for a while.  Before we even left for the rec center, my almost 12 year old was complaining.  "I hate training."  "I REALLY hate training days."  "I don't want to train."  "Training is boring."  "It's too hot and humid to train." This last one was funny given that we train inside on an air conditioned track.

Attitude.  You know - I can handle the kids not being able to jog as much as me.  It's disappointing, and I wanted them to be able to run my first race with me, but I'll get over it.  It's more important that they are being active and healthy.  But the attitude...

I repeatedly said "I understand that's how you're feeling, but we're still going.  Please stop complaining."  When we got there, the complaints turned to "Can I do it on the treadmill?  This is so boring.  At least there I can watch TV."  No, start walking the 5 minute warm up.  Immediately he started walking slower and fell behind my 9 year old and I.  I never saw him jog.  He says he did "for a little" before his leg started to hurt. 

I got so frustrated that after I lapped him three time while he was complaining I just tuned him out for the rest of the workout.  When I finished and was tired and sweaty he started making excuses while simultaneously complaining some more.  I told him I didn't want to hear it.  That I would talk to him later, but that if I talked to him right now I was going to yell at him, and I didn't want to yell at him.

How do kids learn that it is the hardest things that bring the most satisfaction when you accomplish your goal?  How do they learn to stick it out, to push themselves, and to not be afraid to fail?  I can tell them to do stuff, I can show them by example, I can cheer them on and express disappointment or give them consequences if they bail.  But how do you get them to start making that choice to endure, to grow, and to surpass themselves?  Whatever the key is, I haven't found it yet. 

I'm going to try to talk to him about it shortly, now that I've had a shower and lunch.  He has dreams that on various days include the NFL, being a computer game designer, a chef, and a police officer.  No matter what your dreams are, to succeed in life you have to keep going when you're bored, or frustrated, or unhappy.  He did Tai Kwan Do for 5 years and earned his black belt when he was 9.  That was when we could drag him to practices and tell him that he HAD to do his best, and he would.  That last year as he tested and prepared for his black belt I thought he got it.  At least for Tai Kwan Do.  I hoped that would carry over into the rest of his life.

I don't need either of my kids to be gold medalists, millionaires, or elected to an office to feel I've succeeded as a parent.  I need them to be able to take care of themselves, work hard, do their best and be able to feel proud of their accomplishments without needing external rewards.  There's a lot of room to grow here.
Since we left the rec he has been making an effort to be helpful and respectful.  He knows he's in trouble.  I hope I can impart more wisdom than anger.  And then he will be helping me with chores for the rest of the day.  After making my morning harder than it needs to be, he can help make my afternoon and evening easier. 

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