“Children are hardwired for struggle”

I had watched a TED talk with Brene Brown several years ago and it brought me to tears.  She is a “shame researcher” whose story is very powerful.  She did not expect to get the amount of views or attention it received.

She stated a few items that really dug deep into my heart regarding how we deal with others.  We hide our vulnerability because we are do not feel worthy of love and belonging.  We hide our authentic selves because we do not want to be rejected.

She stated that “children are hardwired for struggle”.  We want to take away all of their pain.   We are all imperfect but we are worthy for love and belonging.

No one wants to see our kids struggle or fight through anything but we want them to develop a fortitude of resilience and strength.  Where do they get that from if we don’t want to accept it is just something they have to get through.

We can all blame our parents for different things that caused our adult lives to be not quite as perfect as we wanted them to be.  Brene says that “blame is a way to discharge pain and discomfort”.  It doesn’t help to blame the way you are on anyone.  The fact is you lived through whatever you did and you came out of it with knowledge and a certain feeling gives us the sense of battle scars that were earned.

Raising my daughter, we have talks that she will have to work for whatever she gets.  Yesterday she told me she wanted a volleyball scholarship in order to avoid student loan debt.  How crazy is the world that she is already thinking about this?  I am unsure where she got the idea that she would have to pay for her college education or why we wouldn’t help her and everything is on her whether she goes to college or not but I sort of like it.

She is already taking on the possibility of engaging her future.  It is interesting how children change.  Last year she said she wanted to go to an art school because that is what she loved.  After speaking with some college graduates of the cost of art school and what sort of career she would have after the end of it plus the fact that it is now 40,000 per year to go, she is not thinking of art school any more.  The art school does not have a volleyball program.

We tell her she will need to first choose a career path in order to venture and then select the school.  Now she just wants a scholarship and she really doesn’t care where it is as long as it covers the cost of her student loan debt.

Of course we will help her with college but gave her a realization of coming out of it with a marketable, employable skill needed to happen.

She will have to work hard. She will have to be competitive.  She will also have to have some compassion with herself in case this does not happen.

She will not be alone, we will do everything in our power to make sure she feels worthy.

 

8 assets Volleyball Teams teach Tweens

My daughter recently started “club volleyball”.  This is for girls who want to compete at a higher level.

When your kids win, you are victorious with them.  It is easy to cheer them on. It is easy to encourage their team mates.  It is easy to tell them everything is going great.  Isn’t it great when they win?

When they lose, it is much harder.  It is such a teachable moment.  Winning doesn’t happen by yourself.  It happens in a team.  Volleyball is not a solo sport.

Things that being on the team sport are

  1.  Communication – everyone relies on it.  If it is silent, everyone gets in their heads. They have to know who has the ball and where it is going next.
  2. Trust – if you cannot trust your team mates when they tell you they have the ball, you can’t do your best.
  3. Encouragement – connection to let the last point go and focus on the here and now
  4. Dignity – there will always be a winner and loser – making sure you are good at both
  5. Covering for others’ weaknesses – no one can be great at anything, how can you help each other during the volley
  6. Shake off the bad mojo – there will always be another point, match, game and volley . you need to focus on what is coming next and let the last one go
  7. Progress – there is only getting better with the continual play
  8. Resilience – go dig that ball and get up for the next play

Living only happens in teams.  Who is on your team?  Do you like them and trust them?  Do you communicate or withold?  Everything is hard before it is easy.

Winning is great but losing teaches you everything.

Christmas with the Tween

This Christmas was different for us.  My daughter declared last year she no longer believed in Santa Claus.  We knew we wouldn’t be able to keep up the charade forever, so it’s ok.  With youtube and different media, I really don’t know how long she played along until that point.

She wanted to do midnight mass so she could sleep in.

She no longer wants toys.

She wants sportswear and shoes.

Midnight mass started early and is not at midnight because there were 2 other masses for Christmas before this one started by 11:00.  There were Christmas carols for 30 minutes prior to the mass.  The sing along was fun with all of the verses we never know past the first one.  She thought this mass would contain no little kids or babies.  For some reason, she is really annoyed by the crying and even though there is a “cry room”, parents elect not to sit in there. We also did not want to sit in the overflow room.  Something about watching the mass on a large screen just doesn’t do it for us.

It is very interesting to watch her evolve in the ritual of the mass.  She used to complain a lot about going.  She complains about how boring it is and depending upon who is leading the choir – offkey, loud and a lot of wrong notes being played.   She very much participates in the responses, the up and down and kneeling, the holding of hands during the lords prayer.  The only thing that bothers her is really the shaking of hands.  She doesn’t care for telling other people “peace be with you”, she sometimes pretends to tie her shoe and doesn’t turn around to make eye contact with anyone.  She will shake the hand of someone in front of her only if they initiate first.

She complained about how crowded the church was because they were just there for Christmas.  We explained to her that before she came along, we only went to church for Christmas and Easter, too.  It only was when she was born that we felt the need to be involved in her growing spirituality.

We have a friend who is studying to be a deacon and he tells us that the mass is repetitive for a reason.  It is in the ritual that you can focus on prayer.

She was very excited this year at the mass because we didn’t actually have to go on Christmas day.  Even though this child wanted to sleep in for Christmas, she was still up at 6 am after going to sleep at 1:30.

She felt good about doing her obligation.  I am slowly realizing that she needs a whole lot of nudging to go the right way in the path and I love her for it.

Happy Holidays.

 

Math and Napkins

A while ago, I told my daughter to learn to like math.

Math is something you will use every day.  You will use it in shopping, cooking, dining, calculating what type of space you will have for your furniture placement. You need to know math for your data plan for your smart phone.  Math is definitely something that makes your mind work.

Math should come as second nature.  Multiplication tables should just be able to pop into your head.

I am sort of dyslexic so math is not easy for me and I definitely need to see a lot of numbers on a page so I may make sense of it but I still agree with the fact that Math is something that you need.

Of course with a smart phone, math is made so the pressure may not be so hard to calculate a tip for your server while you are out.

I was at lunch at the cafeteria with she and her best friend who had chocolate all over her face.  I told them both they would need math every day of their lives…. and napkins.  Not your sleeves, dears.  Napkins.

That is my philosophy = use math and napkins every day.

Volleyball with the Tween

I love volleyball.  Now, so does my daughter.  We love hitting and playing together.  We both need to work on her passing game.  We took her to a volleyball training facility and enrolled her in a program.  Actually, 4 programs is what she committed to.

When she said she was able to try out for the volleyball team the dunning sixth grader started becoming competitive.

I think team sports is good for a child.  They teach good communication.  The only way we can get anything worth accomplishing in life is by being a member of the team.  She has never really been on a team until the program did a mini tournament.  This was the first time she lost.

Sitting in the back seat, she was pouting.  I asked her if she was upset because she didn’t get a medal like the first and second finishers.  She said Yes.  I said, well, you didn’t deserve it.  She said “thanks a lot mom, that makes me feel great.”  I said, you didn’t win.  This is how the real world works.  You don’t join something and show up and you get a medal for it.  She broke down and cried. This made her want to work harder.

She hated doing drills.  She hated having to serve over and over.  She hated practicing with someone who couldn’t hit the ball back to her.  She thought it was dumb.  She only wanted to play in the games.

Conversation after conversation with her telling her if she doesn’t create the muscle memory with the drills, her body won’t know how to pass it if the ball is hit to her at an awkward angle.  Of course, moms who actually played volleyball still know nothing so yet again the struggle to get her to practice and get engaged.

She did have some natural talent to actually get on the B level team at school  This was quite an accomplishment.  She was excited.  She is still excited to be on the team.

Their team is now 3-0 for the season.  They are winning.  She is serving pretty well.  At this level of the game, if you have a good serve, the other team can’t hit it back.  The game will be more competitive the older she gets but at least she knew how to lose.

I was so impressed with the group of her friends parents and her friends.  They showed up last night for the game and cheered her name out.   They encouraged her and shouted her name like she was a rock star.  Having good groups of families and friends who support and love your child means more to me than she will ever know.

Volleyball has given her a small level of confidence.  Volleyball has increased her fitness level.  Volleyball has connected our family and friends.  She still may not love practice but everyone loves winning.