So dark as sages say;
Oft a little morning rain
Foretells a pleasant day.
Sometimes there are clouds of gloom,
But these are transient all;
If the shower will make the roses bloom,
O why lament its fall ?
Life’s sunny hours flit by,
Enjoy them as they fly !
What though Death at times steps in
And calls our Best away ?
What though sorrow seems to win,
O’er hope, a heavy sway ?
Yet hope again elastic springs,
Unconquered, though she fell;
Still buoyant are her golden wings,
Still strong to bear us well.
The day of trial bear,
For gloriously, victoriously,
Can courage quell despair !
My job as a mom is not to raise a child, but to raise an adult. The whole process is overwhelming and seemingly impossible. I mean seriously, I can’t even train my dog to come when called. How in the world am I going to raise daughters who are independent, honest, self-assured women of their word who also show compassion, selflessness and unconditional love to their fellow human beings?
When DW and I put our kids in sports it was for a handful of teachable moments: leadership, teamwork, mental and physical strength, how to be competitive. The Tortoise has been in soccer for almost 7 years. There is no doubt in my mind that she is more of a team player in life because of learning how to be a team player on the field. She has also learned the value of working hard, the joy of winning and the sting of losing. But beyond that, she has not fostered any greater vision of herself or her future through her soccer experiences. An experience that she has recently grown tired of and ready for a change.
I fully anticipated The Hare’s experience with gymnastics to be the same as her sister’s soccer experience, and I know it is for most kids. But, this year has proven to be more of a foundation of life lessons that will carry into The Hare’s adulthood, help mold her into the woman who I picture her to be, than just a series of exercises in gymnastic skills. In fact, I would say that two of her coaches have surpassed any of my expectations and been more like mentors than coaches.
The Hare has gained an understanding that success does not happen without its share of falls. Sometimes those falls hurt longer than we anticipate, come back to haunt us when we least suspect, yet we have to work through them to get to the goals that we have set. The Hare sees the importance of setting goals. She has learned that her efforts and attitude effect not only her progress but the success or failure of others, and that her achievements are not more important than the achievements of others. The Hare’s mentors have shown her that hard work can be mentally as much as physically draining but worth the reward when balanced with fun and encouragement. She understands that there is always room for improvement, that we are never done learning. My daughter has learned that relationships are built on trust, honesty, communication and respect. She has learned to not only be respectful of others but to encourage those that don’t encourage her, extending grace and compassion as often as possible. Her uniqueness has been celebrated, creating a strong sense of self. In moments of doubt or fear, The Hare has learned to accept help from others, trust her abilities, and move forward on faith rather than be paralyzed. Her coaches have instilled in her an understanding that it is a waste of energy to worry about the things that we can not change, and should just focus on the things that we can. She has also learned that it is okay to be sad as long as you let it go.
Although we are in awe of her incredible achievements this year, it is not the medals that I am most proud. My hope is that the life skills she has learned this year from these two wonderful coaches mold her in a way that I alone could not have taught. Some of these lessons were things that I needed to put into better practice in my own life as well, and am forever grateful for the opportunity to see my daughter through someone else’s eyes.