Everything I know about the power of resilience, I’ve learned from my kids.
Let me explain.
When my kids want something, they pursue it. Doggedly, persistently, enthusiastically. Whether it’s reading one more book, getting one more cookie, learning how to hit the ball with the bat or make a jump kick in karate without falling on their faces. They stick with it, keep trying, and more often than not face disappointment with a wink and a smile.
I see it all the time, but the past 2 days were filled with examples from both of my boys. On Sunday, we attended a birthday party with Angel’s kindergarten classmates at one of those indoor mega-bouncy castle spots. There was one station that resembled a slippery rock climbing wall. The kids had to run up the slope, attach a velcro strip to a spot on the wall and use it to climb to the top. It was like the wall was greased with Crisco. Kids were bouncing off the base of the mountain, climbing a few feet only to tumble back down to the bottom. Most kids gave up after about 3 tries. Not Angel. This kid kept at it for at least 20 minutes. He would charge the mountain at full speed, then bounce to the bottom. He tried to grip the vinyl and pull himself up with his arm strength. Each time he bounced, tumbled or slid to the bottom he would jump up with a big smile on his face and say, “Did you see THAT, Mommy? Next time I’ll go EVEN higher!”
Today’s lesson came from my little guy. Victor started karate a few weeks ago (they usually start kids at 4, but a) he’s built like a brick, b) he has a better attention span than many 7 year olds and c) after watching his brother for a year, he basically knows all of the moves). So, I’m in the waiting area working on a presentation for tomorrow’s all-day planning meeting when I hear Victor’s distinctive wail. I take a breath and look up to see the instructor carrying him off of the mat with an already prominent egg on his forehead. Apparently, Victor lost his balance during a jump kick and took a header into the base of the punching bag. My first inclination was to grab Victor from the teacher, run to the emergency room and never come back to karate again. Instead, I calmly informed the instructor that I thought Victor was too young for the class and that we should not continue. At this, Victor immediately stopped crying and told me, “No, Mommy. I like karate. I want to try again.” After some quality time with an ice pack, Victor was back on the mat and finished the class stronger than he began.
Life is tough. We get knocked on our butts on an almost-daily-basis (some days, more than once!). As we grow older, too many of us simply stay down when life throws us for a loop. Rather than continuing to fight, we throw up our hands, wave the white flag and pick only the battles we know we can win.
Oh, to have the wisdom of the under-six set. No matter how many times life knocks you down, always get up and try again. Even better if you can do it with a maniacal grin plastered across your face….