I was working with a group of parents yesterday on adoption education. One of the many things that came up in the context of a breakout discussion was the importance of failure, how it can be used as a positive, to build character, self-esteem and fortitude (among other things) in children. How do parents teach their children, adopted or not, the value of failing?
Talk of failure got me thinking of our family weekend. I know, odd. But let me explain. Wonderful friends invited the entire clan down for a weekend at their lake. We are always happy to be asked, but I do reemphasize with any such invite that there are six of us. And my four are ever-ready and nonstop, especially the boys. (I’ve seen them wear other kids out.)
My kids had the opportunity to water ski for the first time. We had successes and we had some not-successes. What impressed me though was how my kids fared emotionally with their failures to get up on skis after many attempts, because, believe me, there is competition within the ranks…
Frustration was minimal. Josi laughed it off. Aubry showed focus and acceptance. There weren’t any tears or anger. Yes, they were doing something that could be fun. Yes, the lake was exciting and beautiful. But what I saw was that my daughters were able to embrace failure.
Failure is part of the process of learning, of eventually succeeding. Both of the girls said that they would probably get up next time. I like that renewed determination!
Periodically, I check into my Google Reader and read posts from different bloggers, for entertainment and to keep abreast of news, trends and opinion. My friend and college, Linda Hoye, wrote a post on her evolution of clothes, which triggered a whole host of ideas in my head…One of which was what my kids wear, how they dress, particularly Holden.
What has become a trend among the young men of the hip hop generation, emulating the prison population (no belts or shoestrings to ward off suicide or murder by hanging, use as a weapon, or to advertise easy “access” for other inmates…that’s all I’m going to say…), is the wearing pants and shorts below the butt crack—sometimes below the butt, sometimes belted around the thighs (and when I see young guys struggling to walk dressed like, well, yes, I stop and watch. I want to pull the chair out of the back of my van, sit in it and eat popcorn.) Fascinating and entertaining. And utterly stupid.
Holden doesn’t wear his pants that low, however his pants are rarely above his butt crack. Even with a belt. His friends dress the same and, sad to say, I can tell who these young gentlemen are by glancing at the boxers in plain view. Not an intimacy I’m comfortable with.
Holden went out again last night with his jeans barely covering his rear. They weren’t sagging. A belt wouldn’t have helped. They just didn’t fit. He has outgrown them. Those jeans made it into the laundry this morning. You know, sometimes in the process of doing the laundry things just have a way of disappearing, like t-shirts with less-than-desirable slogans and non-fitting jeans, pants and shorts…
Like Mark, I take several days to unwind before I can embrace relaxing when we travel with the kids (I know, I know, travel with kids and relaxation is a dichotomy…). But this time was different. Vacation actually kicked-in before we hit the road, even though we had another seventeen year-old with us.
I was challenged by Mark not to write while we were on vacation. As hard as it is to admit, I needed to take a break.
Very difficult, but it turned out to be the best thing because I could turn off my head, sleep and replenish. Seems my resting follows along the lines of, “When Mama’s happy, everyone’s happy.” The difference was evident and the kids followed by example, embracing their time with one another and sleeping in.
Of course, the fact that I was available made me less “popular” with my four. Haven’t you found that your kids need you the most when you are the least accessible?
The “handsomes” (Holden and his friend) spent time sleeping, eating obscene amounts of food (as usual), networking with other vacationing teens (primarily of the female persuasion), and playing pick-up games of beach volleyball and soccer. I was lulled into a peaceful state as the South Carolina wet heat seeped into my body through my fingers that trailed through the waters of the estuary. Further contentment issued forth as I dug my toes into the fine warm sand, occasionally cooled by the Atlantic Ocean waves, or played a game of bocce with the kids.
Next year I’m leaving my computer. Yep…