setting the baseline

I danced when I was a kid. I started in first grade and I danced until I started High School. Having an extra-curricular physical activity is important for children. I think it’s important for kids to interact with others outside of school, learn team work and move their body. The kids have hit the age where adding in an activity makes sense. We have tried a few, some successful, some not.

We showed up at the Taekwondo School with the intention of signing up my son. But my daughter seemed interested too and then the next thing you know the three of us were putting on uniforms.

I couldn’t say no. There wasn’t a good reason to say no. The instructor mentioned that it was a family class so the ages range and there are moms and dads too. Their eyes lit up.

Mommy, will you do it with us?

And I was all like…

uhhhhh, wha? uhhh, ummm, uhhh, ok

I was trying so hard to think of a reason to say no but all of them, EVERY SINGLE ONE I came up with was about me, my insecurity and my laziness.

So I said ok, why not.

I had read a quote a day or two before – Be who you needed when you were that age…

When I was a kid I wanted my dad to take dance with me. I’d teach him the new step in the routine after class and he would try to do it with me. I loved it. I thought he was cool, that he was interested in what I was doing. That I was teaching him something new.

That’s what I thought about as I spun the rolodex of excuses inside my brain. I thought they want me to do this, I should do this. Why not?

I am not a helicopter mom. I do not follow my children around, I am not in ALL of their business, making decisions for them. I do not step in at the first sign of adversity. We talk a lot in our family. Our most important talks are at dinner when we talk about our day with each other. Not just the good parts, but all of it. Our other most important talks are at bed time when its one on one. This is where they tell me the things they weren’t comfortable talking about at dinner and I respect that. This is where I learn about struggles with personal relationships or moments where they felt really uncomfortable or self-conscience. I’m a teaching kind of mom, an open door policy kind of mom. If they ask the question I will answer it.

I think our time together in Taekwondo class is important to them. I think it shows them that I am not always the teacher but sometimes the student, that I don’t know everything. That I get nervous and self-conscience, that I mess up and have to try again. I think that is important.

I had a hard time the first 4 weeks or so. I was so self-conscience, so uncomfortable. I had no idea what I was doing and all these parents were lined up behind me watching their children and I felt vulnerable out there. My anxiety was on high alert. But I’d look around the room and spot my kids, they’d already be looking at me and we’d share a wink…then I’d think “ok, this is worth it”.

We talk after each class on our way home. Talk about what we did well, what we struggled with. We have something in common that is growing us and I think that’s neat.

Do as I say not as I do. The ol’ parenting mantra.

I’m trying to show them to DO as I do.

As parents, we learn a lot about ourselves when we have to start teaching little humans who depend on us and it’s a challenge. We are growing kids into adults, we are setting the baseline for their lives. I think it’s important that we recognize that. In a world of technology it is so easy for parents to lose their influence over their children.

Sharing an experience with them, having a collective goal and working towards it together…that’s what’s important.

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