The Blue Fairy and Raising Real Children Full Life MA Plainfield Il
Posted: August 12, 2019
What did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was younger, I wanted to be a zookeeper, an astronaut, and a mom. I made some small strides toward being a zookeeper and an astronaut, by submitting a science experiment to NASA and later applying for a job at a zoo in high school, which I didn’t get. Instead, I chose another of my strengths, music, and by the time I was 24, I got the mom part. I was pretty focused on that one because I wanted to be like my mom.
My mom was really great at seeing what me and my two brothers were interested in, and enrolling us in classes and experiences with those strengths in mind. Music for me, writing for my middle brother, art for my youngest brother. I wanted that for my children.
Sound like something you want?
Belief equals hope.
When my four sons were small, I used to ask them if they wanted to shine like the stars or be like the dirt. Without any hesitation, they would all shouted out, “shine like the stars!”
Like the Blue Fairy in Pinocchio, I wanted my children to believe they could be brave, truthful, and selfless. That they could shine like stars.
And you know what? I am certain that at the ages of 3,5, 6 and 7 my sons believed they could shine like stars and be whatever they wanted to be. At that point, they had just started Taekwondo...
… and they continued for the next 13 years. (at least)
Belief plus action equals reality.
Why Taekwondo for 13 years? Was I just a mean task master? Maay-beee… but truly, I was after something bigger. I was after the development of their character. The taekwondo leadership life skills combined with physical exercise would do the
I knew from being a musician that you have to practice, taking things one day at a time. Without practice, all their dreams would come to nothing.
Becoming brave, truthful and selfless is HARD WORK. A lifelong task.
Better start young, I thought.
I surrounded them with teachers who believed in them. Mentors who made them face their fears and doubts by putting it into daily action with pushups, sit-ups, taekwondo forms, sparring, demo team, and competition.
Because after four children, I’ve learned this important piece of advice:
Kids need adults to believe in them. Period. No Doubt.
Things could have gone different. How many of you had parents who did not participate much in your life decisions? Or parents who actively discouraged you from trying something new? Or well-meaning parents who made you try so many different things that you never really got good at any one thing? And if that was your childhood experience, are you now living your dreams?
It’s a rare person who is so committed, driven, fueled by their belief in themselves that they achieve their dreams. Most of us normal humans need a bit of encouragement.
Some of us need kicks in the pants.
You don’t just slap a kid together and then leave him alone to figure things out. That’s a recipe for destruction.
You want your kids to move towards growth and excellence, not destruction.
Here’s the rub: How much are you willing to push your kid, to be the bad guy, hear their manipulative rants about how you hate them, or they hate you, be accused of not understanding and knowing absolutely nothing… yes, these snotty little children whom you fed, bathed, cleaned and rocked for the first four years of their lives?
We are made to have goals, or else we lose hope and become less-than-human. Potentially destructive. Of self and others. We see this destructive tendency every day.
Destruction seems to be the easy way out.
When we lose our belief in ourselves, or didn’t have it to begin with, we need someone else to believe for us, or we default to that destructive easy way out.
So, I’m going to ask you some challenging questions.
What strengths or weaknesses do you see in your kid? Is she careful? Wickedly smart? A great speaker? Quiet and reserved? Is he an influencer? Can he convince anyone to do anything? A risk taker? NOT a risk taker? Loves to draw…sing…dance…spin in circles? Destroys whatever he touches?
Now, I didn’t ask you what you fear, or what you hate. I asked you what you SEE as their strengths, and maybe, weaknesses.
Because sometimes a weakness is really a strength in disguise.
Remember when I said my kids wanted to be like stars?
Well, one day, as three of my sons were stomping around the room shouting their star anthem, one of them calmly looked at me and said, “I want to be like the dirt.”
(Sigh) I had to find something else to motivate this one. (Darn.)
But it wasn’t that difficult.
Because I saw his independent thinking, smart-beyond-his-years, trailblazing spirit not as a slap in my face, but as a unique strength of his character. And I started praying that he grow that gift into something…well, LEGAL.
Today, that son is a U.S. Army Airborne Ranger.
That isn’t to say this son never pissed me off. (Grrrr)
Does your kid piss you off? Why? What things are you thinking kids ought to be and do? Who told you that? What values are being violated by your interactions with your kid? How do you INFLUENCE your kid to do what you want?
Can you see the unopened flower in your kid, or are you mad that she is not just like Perfect You? Can you keep watering it, shining light on it, pruning it (sometimes by fire) until it is fully bloomed?
Because having someone who believes in you is sometimes the only thing that keeps people sane and safe.
So, what do you want THEM to be when they grow up?
Full Life Martial Arts is a leadership training martial arts school.
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