“At Least I Didn’t Finish Last”

Tonight’s “LBC” (Last Banana Club) report is not about me. Maybe the “Little Banana Club” because it is about Wayne Kevin.

Seven years ago, when Tenley was “between” dance and whatever the next pasttime would be, she was briefly involved in running. When I took her out to the Gulf Winds Summer Track series, I didn’t know what to do with three year old Wayne so I ….. took him along. Tenley went on to gymnastics (and dance) (and cheerleading) but Wayne and I are still “at the track.”

Children are so unique in what motivates them. I have evolved over years of parenting to come to terms with the fact that my parental idea of what a child’s goal should be, what should motivate them, or what will make a child feel good about him or herself differs wildly from the child’s ideas.

I don’t know if Wayne will ever set any kind of records. I don’t know if he’ll be running next week, next month, or next year (of course I still hope!). What I do know is that in the three Red Hills Kids Triathlons he has done, and yesterday’s Freedom Springs Kids Triathlon, I saw determination in his eyes. And when he said, “at least I didn’t finish last,” that was as satisfactory to me as a first place finish.

One of my friends whose child was participating said she was going to take video next year of all the parents whose behavior was less than sportsmanlike and show it on a big screen so they would see for themselves that when you verbally berate a child who is putting together a 100 yard swim/3 mile bike/1 mile run for not doing it fast enough, that child may shave seconds off of their time but the parent is undermining something far more enduring: a child’s sense of wonder at the things their body and mind can do.

So this week, when a child in your life wants to spend their time in a way that diverges from your vision of what will make them happy, take a moment to put aside your adult expectations and see things from their perspective. You might be surprised at the things you’ll “tri” together.

1 thought on ““At Least I Didn’t Finish Last”

  1. Well said! One of the most difficult lessons in being a parent is not imposing our own ideas of success on our children. Each child is unique and their life journey begins when they make personal decisions about what motivates them. As parents, our responsibility to expose our children to opportunities that allows them to explore their ideas.

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