I asked Emily what my next blog should be about and she said: “My most improved award!”
So here we go….
In 2008-2009, Emily decided she would concentrate on her swimming. She was going to free swim with Special Olympics and was invited to join the swim team!
This was serious swimming, they practiced once a week, doing lengths and having a coach telling her how to improve her technic.. It was difficult for Emily, she enjoyed free swim a lot but had to work hard at practice…
Practice was not her idea of fun anymore but she didn’t give up!
She kept going to practice and registered for a swim meet!
I was, once again, left speechless!
Swim meet day was beyond difficult for Emily… there was a crowd and teams from other part of New Brunswick and from the other Maritime provinces…
The crowd was loud… too loud!
Emily had to wait for her turn… the waiting was long… too long!
She had to sit with her team, I wasn’t sitting with her… she wanted to sit with us!
She cried and asked to leave and go home!
I didn’t let her quit! In my world, you don’t have to win but you are certainly not quitting. You need to finish what you start! We had a chat in the change room and she went back out!
She had her first race
She did well!!!
Than she couldn’t find her t-shirt…
She cried!!! Back in the change room, chatting about quitting, not quitting, the importance of a t-shirt…!
She went back out, we found her a t-shirt! It wasn’t hers (according to her) but after some arguing and more tears, she took it!
She had 3 more races and than she was done!
It was sandwich time!
Sitting with her family and “fan club” 🙂
Emily was so proud of herself. I was so proud of her!
Most people take for granted that their child will sign-up from something and they will be good at it. They will give a 100% and they will go to meets and stay with their team and ignore their parents in the crowd because it’s not cool to have your parents there cheering for you!
Not us… every single step of every single decision needs to be discussed and agreed upon. If something doesn’t go according to plan, it can get ugly quickly, not because she is a brat but because it’s just not working according to what she was expected….
That day, Emily received prizes in all her races! She was proud of herself! But not enough to register to another meet!
At the Special Olympics end of season gala, she received an award for most improved in swimming!
At the gala, once she was done eating and had her award, she called it a night. The dancing was starting and she doesn’t like loud music or crowd… once again, this was a really difficult evening for her but she stayed as long as she could.
The following year when it was time to register for swimming she decided she wasn’t swimming anymore! She hasn’t returned to swimming with Special Olympics since that 2008-2009 season! She goes swimming with her school every year but she doesn’t want to be part of the swim team and won’t even go to “fun” swim night.
I have tried to talk to her about this and see if she could be convinced to at least go to fun swim as it is as much a social outing as it is an exercise thing… but there is no way I can make her go!
When Emily says no, it means no. She is stubborn, her no is as powerful as her determination to learn how to walk was… once she makes up her mind, one way or the other, it is really hard, almost impossible, to make her go with another option. I am actually quite proud of that…
We showed her how to make decisions for herself and when we offer her an option (yes or no) we have to be sure we can live with either option. When it is a non-negotiable, we start with that, we don’t ask if she could… we tell her what we are expecting…
Experience taught us well….
Back to swimming, she finished her season which was all I had required from her when she signed up!
I am so proud of her for not quitting, for facing her fears…! Again and again…
What does it take for you to be proud of your kids?
Do they have to win?
Do they have to be the best?
What kind of pressure are you putting on them to achieve your goals?