Life Lessons of Dignity and High Self-Esteem

April 14, 2009 at 8:57 am | Posted in 1 | Leave a comment
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GEM Parenting
Where Every Child is a GEM

Its Terrific Tuesday and no better day than today to tell you about our weekend. How we were able to actually have some Easter and our last ski race.

For the whole story I am actually going to bring you back to last Tuesday!

On Tuesday I was to get my 16 year old from the airport- just one and half hours away LOL- She was to arrive at 7:30pm. This was a bit tight because my dancer finished on Tuesday at 7:00pm. Then as we were going into dance (30 minutes away) my 16 year-old daughter called. She had gotten off the plane at a layover and was instructed to head to another gate. When she got to the gate she was told the plane she had been on was actually the correct plane. And it had left. She was completely calm. And asked what should be done now? She was complimented on her manners and told they would get her to our airport at 11:30 pm.

This meant three hours of middle of the night driving for me. YUCK! But that was all I could do about that. I told the dancer as soon as dance was over we would go straight home and I would take a nap. The traveler called again and said she would be at our airport at 8:30pm. This was actually perfect. We left after dance and arrived just as she had gotten her bags. This was a sure case of Law of Attraction.

Just a quick side note on the 16 year old. She went to Squaw Valley for half pipe nationals on skis. She had a great run, but did not place all that well. She actually did not get a score. Again Law of Attraction. She knew she was good, but had not actually put energy into having a great finish. So although her run was great, the scores just did not actually appear. Rather than mope about the outcome, after the ten minutes of discouragement she began her plan for next year. Then she and my eldest (25 years who lives in LA) spent a week together. They had a fantastic time. And the 16 year old surfed- another dream of hers.

OK back to last week-
Of course the whole way home we talked, shared our stories, and just enjoyed each other’s company. And we were all ready to go to sleep when we got back.

Wednesday morning we packed the car- We had to have all our ski gear, enough entertainment for the 4 hr rides and the possibility of four rainy days, school work, and lots and lots of food. We were to leave at 12 noon. We left at 12:20. That’s on time for us.

I was the passenger. And maybe this should have meant resting and relaxing, but when the driver is 16 you are extra alert. So to keep me calm and the kids entertained I read for three hours. Hoarse voice.

We got to our condo and unpacked. Next morning was sunny and a bit warm for us. Racer was training GS w/ her team. (Just incase you are new to GEM Parenting, this was a championship race of the 30 best qualified Americans and 30 best qualified Canadians aged 11 and 12- The Children’s Can-Am) Friday morning was slalom training. My other girls and I were skiing. But we stopped by to watch the training. WOW! I could hardly believe my eyes. My daughter was skiing terribly. Now I had to make a quick decision. Do I let her just continue to enjoy this trip or do I put a spark in her? How do I light the spark and not have her get too tense? And is this really my place or should I leave it up to the coach?

You guessed right if you guessed I decided with the spark. And what would the best spark be? Total honesty. Now there are two ways of honesty-vinegar or honey. I chose honey. I told her that if she was capable of skiing very differently, she had skied very differently two years before, and it was time to go back to that style. She had developed a certain fear of hitting the slalom gates. She did not need to hit the gates. She needed to find her own style and own line.

I wanted her to know that if she were to ski on Sunday the way she trained she would come in the place that no skier wants to be in- by at least three seconds, (a huge difference in ski racing.) If she were going to lose she would at least want to do it with dignity. She took one more run. And improved a tiny bit. She could have dignity at this rate.

Next day was race day- Giant Slalom- My daughter was ready. She put in a great effort and came away with a 37th. Not bad for being the last to qualify from US. But she said to me when she came through the finish. “ I could have done better. I am not even out of breath. I held myself back and I was tight and nervous. Tomorrow I need my sister to ski with me and help me relax.” All in one breath- not knowing how she did compared to anyone else, and before anyone could tell her what she needed to do.

For the afternoon and evening we went to our friend’s condo- 3 families from another mountain in NH. We had a fabulous egg hunt, a delicious Easter dinner, and great time being together. Easter with friends who are almost family.

Sunday-Race day again. Two girls going- one to race with dignity, and the other preparing her with fun and humor and stratgeies. I got them up and to the mountain. They headed off with coaches and other teammates to slip the course.

(The rest of us had to pack out of the condo, but not one thing could be done about that while the racer was there. We were done in 35 minutes)

So we got to the race hill just as the first racers were coming down. Now I can tell you I felt nervous. I wanted so badly for my daughter to do her best, put it all together, and feel great when she came through the finish line. And that is a very tall order!

The first girls had too much speed. They crashed, hiked and were disappointed. Then came some who got the right speed and line. Things were exciting. My daughter was bib 52. Near the end. I was getting a pit in my stomach. Then we were only ten away. My eight year old and I sent her our energy to go fast, relax, and have good line. We use Reiki to do this.

Fifty came through the finish. Fifty-one was on course and fifty-two was out of the gate- my daughter. All you can do is stand there and watch. Send your energy. And hope all goes well. And know that you may need to help uplift your kid’s spirits or you might, if everything goes just right and luck is on your side, have a great feeling of satisfaction. Yes, I know it is the kid who does al the action, but as mom/dad/grandparent you are part of the energy and emotion. You cannot separate yourself so don’t try. Just keep a check on it and don’t over power your kid.

She came in fast. Did everything she could do. And pushed herself to her absolute limit. She had a fantastic finish. No she did not win or even come in the top ten, but she was twenty-second! Now from where she was two days before, this was better than any of us hoped for.

She made a decision, put all she knew into action, and skied without a conscious thought. It was so wonderful to see. She knew she had done a great run. Lots of cheers from other US kids and parents.

But we had to stay in the moment. She still had another run. And who knew what would happen then. Lunch with the subtle tension of more to come, yet the satisfaction of having done one’s best. As a parent it’s a real tight rope. Keeping things just calm enough, and keeping just enough adrenalin for the second run.

Off went the racers (and the one sister) with the coaches to prepare (slip the course) for the second run. Only this time my daughter was going ninth. The top thirty flip time order. It’s a BIG deal to make the flip.

So we had much less time to wait and wonder. We all did about the same as last time- Sent energy, sister with her to keep her just focused enough, but relaxed and having fun. (This sister has been in many international competitions at this point so she really knows what to do and think)

And the tension went up by notches as her time to go came closer. Was she going to be calm? Would she lose it? Would she decide, “Well, I did great last time so I can sit back?”

She was out the gate and we knew. She was putting it down again. She was on her edges, (both of her skis and her abilities). She was breathless at the finish. She had done two great runs. She was elated. I was elated. Her family was elated. Her coaches were thrilled and proud. And her friends and their parents were so happy for her.

Her finish? Twenty-second overall. And this in the race that she could have been last by seconds had she not decided to put it all together.

As a parent there was so much in this weekend for my daughter. Yes, it was fantastic she made it to the Can-Am. It truly was a small elite group of racers. And what she was able to bring together for herself was worth every moment of getting there. She was able to go to her limit. She accepted her challenge- how to get around the slalom gates without hitting them yet being close and fast. She was able to accept her tension and use it to boost her abilities. These two life lessons alone will give her that something we all want in uncomfortable situations. She chose to do her best in every possible way. The outcome was dignity and high self-esteem. Where she placed was the icing on the cake. It really did not matter. (But it was fun to knock of 30 places. I am the first to let you know.)

If you read this far, congratulations. You can see that being a parent has lots of ins and outs, nooks and crannies. You have to be ready in all situations to bring honor and dignity to your children. They need to be supported to do their best, in the way that keeps their self esteem intact. No small order chef can do it.

I would love to hear about times that your children were able to overcome obstacles and how you helped them with this. What life lessons were learned- by you or them!

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