As a marathon runner, I have read about it over and over, but never quite understood what it was, what it meant, until I hit it myself. I’m talking about the Proverbial Wall.
I didn’t know what to expect the first time I ran a marathon because, for one, I didn’t train properly at all; and secondly, I thought I could just run. I mean, it’s “only” 26.2 miles, right? Yeah, right!
In endurance sports, particularly cycling and running, hitting the wall or the bonk describes a condition caused by the depletion of glycogen stores in the liver and muscles, which manifests itself by precipitous fatigue and loss of energy. – Wikipedia.
You’re tired. You struggle. You question yourself. You want to quit. The first time it happened to me at mile 20. I. Wanted. To. Die. But I pressed forward taking in some nutrition, knowing that the end was close, yet so far away. I knew I could do it. I knew I would finish.
But what about in real life? What do we do when we hit that wall? What can we do? What “nutrition” can we take in to overcome life’s difficulties? It seems all too easy in life to just walk away from it when there seems to be no end in sight.
It shouldn’t be so easy to just quit at anything started. I’ve always told my kiddos that if they want to start something (baseball, karate, a project), they need to see it until the end. If you put the time and effort into something, it deserves a fighting chance to be completed.
I’ve seen relationships end, jobs quit, college courses dropped … All because of the belief that it was “too hard!” Seriously? WTF? Life IS hard. Life was NOT meant to be so easy that we could just skate on by and come out unscathed. Too many times though, I’ve seen things pushed to the wayside because it wasn’t worth the time, or the effort, or it was just out of their comfort zone and one didn’t like the feeling of discomfort that it illicited within them, and I wondered, “Why?” Why didn’t they stick it out? Why wasn’t (s)he, or why wasn’t it worth the time or effort when they had already invested so much into them/it?
Then I started to watch. I watched parents do the homework for their children, when these children should be doing their own homework. I watched parents bribe their children to do things that should be done without needing bribery. I watched as parents rewarded children for negative behavior. Why is this important? Who cares about how these children are being raised? I mean, after all, they’re not our children, right? True, they are not our own children, but they are children who have grown into adults, and we are encountering them now. These are children that our own children will have to or are already dealing with.
What’s the point? The point is, and I do have one, is that these kids grow up to be individuals that expect things to be easy, and handed to them and when it’s not they throw a tantrum or just quit altogether. No parent wants their child to be hurt or uncomfortable. We can’t be there every time they fall to pick them up. We can’t wrap them in bubble wrap. We CAN, however, help them to help themselves. I’m NOT saying don’t pick them up and dust them off when they fall, or leave them out there to fend for themselves. Rather, when you do, point out that they’re okay as you do so so they can see and feel that they are. Let them cry, but talk to them and urge them to get up and keep moving once bandaged up. Sit with them as they as they struggle with their homework, but don’t take command. They need to figure out how to work out their math problems, or write that English paper. Be there to offer suggestions, proofread, and to correct. What? They don’t want to take their medicine, or do their chores? By offering them a new toy or payment if they do creates the expectation that every time they need to do something uncomfortable they should be rewarded for doing so. This is how we “train” and “feed” our kids the necessary “nutrition” to make it through the walls they may encounter throughout life.
I’m far from being a perfect parent. I run my household as a drill sergeant runs his recruits. I love my kids more than anything, and my job as a parent is to prepare them for life. I need to train them to move onward once they hit a wall. I need to be there to provide the nutrition they need to get past the feeling of wanting to give up, so that they can one day do it for themselves. I will know that I have succeeded in my job as a parent when my kids are able to care for themselves (and others when they have their own families) when they are away from me. I will continue to provide the necessary nutrition and guidance so that they make it to that finish line, any finish line – whatever it may be. So I watch them, encourage them, and I nudge them out of the nest. I watch as they open their wings, stretch them out and attempt to fly … I believe that they can do it, but it’s my job to make sure that they believe that they can.
** Note: My kids are FAR from “perfect.” They have their issues also, but for the most part they are well adjusted, well behaved, fun, smart, beautiful kids. I have a great husband who has helped me raise them, and truth be told, he is the driving force behind their greatness. I know that my kiddos will fare well in this world, and I am so very thankful that they are mine, and that I was given the honor and privilege to be their mother.
What kind of nutrition are you feeding your kids? Are they getting the right kind of training? Will they be able to conquer their walls?
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