So viewing the London Olympics each night the past couple of weeks has been a family affair.
It all started when our oldest daughter flipped like crazy in the womb. It was a sight to see!
Then by the age of 2 she was doing cartwheels and round-offs without any instruction. Realizing tumbling was her gift; we entered the world of the gymnastics.
Soon we found ourselves living at the gym.
Climbing the gymnastic levels there were years she jumped, twisted, and twirled 4-5 hours a day in the gym. It was grueling and exciting, but a journey we made as a family.
Fears were continually being conquered, despite aches, pains, fractures, and sprains. There were tears and there was much laughter.
As our daughter entered high school, juggling the world of gymnastics and cheerleading became impossible.
With each sport requiring long hours of practice she decided to pursue cheerleading. Choosing to focus on one sport cheerleading was a great call, as she soon landed a scholarship to college.
Being the mom of a gymnast and cheerleader, I wouldn’t trade those years for anything. There were many long days, but each challenge became new ground to conquer.
From a mom's perspective, looking back I learned a lot along this journey.
If you struggle to know the right amount of time that your child should pursue sports as an extra-curricular activity or as a serious endeavor, here are a few keys to help you.
Keep a Balance in Life
My oldest daughter was not the only child involved in activities. They were each involved in their schools and extra-curricular activities.
I became great friends with my Franklin Planner, as I made sure each child got their time in the gym, on the field, or on mom's lap. We didn't skimp on family time. We didn't neglect the things that were truly important.
I made sure our lives were balanced. Each day was not necessarily balanced, but taking a look at the whole picture it was.
Sometimes You'll Want to Quit
There were days were my daughter would get aggravated over the complexity of not getting a skill or that she was in pain from new rips and tears from the bars. She'd voice the notion of quitting. I'd listen, as a mom should.
I knew her passion and figured once she had time to rest, her thought processes would be back on track. Isn't that how we all are as leaders and parents?
It's those frustrating days that get us down. At our wits end, we voice we want to quit. When we’re tired of living in our cars, running from activity to activity, we’re exhausted and ready to quit.
Just remember that voicing you want to quit occasionally is natural, but quitting is not an option. Staying positive especially on the days when nothing seems to go right and you’re exhausted is key and critical for you and your child.
In the End it's all about Character
In the end it's not the sport that makes a person. As a parent, it's not the fact that we can multi-task and juggle 14 kids and their activities that matter.
No, it's our character. It's the presence of our being as we go through life that others will remember. It's our heart-felt honesty and sincerity that make a difference.
At college my daughter was injured which sent her home at the age of 19. Having a meltdown over the fact that her life had changed and the gym now was of the past, my daughter had to come to the realization that the sport did not reflect her as a whole.
She was not the sport.
No, she had much more to offer than that. While we never made it to the Olympics, I'm thankful for the lessons we learned along side some incredible gymnasts.
Thanks to all the parents who balance life, don't quit even while secretly wanting to, and always hold their head high with great character.
You are the true champions leading and forming the minds of our children.
What areas are hard for you to juggle? Creating a balance? Upholding character? Keeping it positive?