Saturday, January 19, 2013


Fly Fishing in Montana.  I did most of the fishing but they did a great job keeping up and being patient.  

Lately I have been focusing on teaching my kids about success and having high standards when it comes to achievement. Whether it is in school, sports, music, or whatever they attempt I want them to give it their all.  We have a couple of sayings in the house. My wife uses "champions adjust." I have been teaching the kids that they need to "breath excellence." While I love Ricky Bobby I don't necessarily subscribe to the "if you ain't first your last" mentality and I certainly do not subscribe to the every body is a winner atttitude.  I hate the idea that everyone gets a trophy for participating. Life does not give participation awards. The harsh reality is that some don't "win" whether it is there fault or not. Even good hard working people come in last sometimes, they don't get a ribbon. This is where being a parent and raising kids becomes a challenge; how do you teach success and a winning attitude without creating a sore loser or a person that resents me as a parent for to much pressure.

While I don't want to put so much pressure on them that they become resentful, I definitely don't want them to accept a standard lower than they are capable.  I think competition can be healthy; win or lose, a person can gain a lot from challenging himself/herself. Of course each kid is different and responds to a different motivation. Even kids in the same age group have different maturity levels that allow them to be good at different things.

As for my children, I want them to have the same opportunities. Swimming is an excellent example. Our two oldest have been on swim teams for several years. Most nights (especially in the winter) it is a struggle to get them ready and out of the door. The biggest complaint comes from the Chick is always about the water temperature. She is getting better, much better. Digga is easy to bribe. I have no qualms with "bribes," I see them as rewards for success just as I get a paycheck for working. He gets a slurpee on the way home (he is cheap).

All of my kids will be on a swim team and compete, as well as, learn to play the piano.  There is no guarantee that they will love these activities and make them life long pursuits.  How long each will do it will probably depend on any number of factors and will probably be determined by how hard household 6 and I want to fight the issue. They will at least be able to swim and read/play music at some level. Which is more than I can say for myself (I know nothing about music theory or how to read music).

What I can guarantee is that they will have better opportunities to excel than I did and I want them to know that nothing comes with out hard work. Sometimes you wipe out and get tangled up and there is no one to help you (or in this case you remain tangled until the father of the year puts the camera down). The teaching point in this is that it would have been easier to pedal a little harder to get over this obstacle than quit when you are halfway over.  I am not sure if she got the point or not.  I can say that we are out there, living life and learning.   

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