Strengthening Struggles

Facebook is a funny thing.  I love posting on it, mostly because I get to see these posts as memories years from now.  This is really my motivation to post, but recently I shared a post that my daughter made the top 12 gymnastics provincial team.  The following day, the roster was released from Baseball NB that my son made the U17 team and I also shared that.

It’s very kind that people post congratulations on these posts, and comments such as what athletic children we have, but all I want to reply with is that all children are created equal and my children are just fortunate that they found sports that they enjoy and work hard at.

I love that my children are involved in sport, not to be recognized as making provincial teams, but for what sport teaches them.  Sport teaches that you strengthen through your struggles.  I’ve witness my daughter fight fears in gymnastics to finally concur them and continue to move forward.  I’ve been through shoulder rehab with my son so that he could be a successful pitcher again. Through sports, I’ve watched my children struggle and become stronger and more successful.  Their push and success through these pains and setbacks is what I’m most proud of…not their actual accomplishments in their chosen sport!

These sporting struggles eventually lead them to be stronger in their chosen sport.  Just like the struggles of their lives are making them stronger, more successful human beings, more prepared to move forward successfully in life from what they learned during their difficult times.

What people don’t see on my Facebook posts are my children’s life struggles.  Just because I don’t post them doesn’t mean they don’t exist.  Every Facebooker is experiencing personal struggles, but most of us never share this part of our lives with the Facebook world.

My daughter went through a horrible winter.  She was put on a hit list of another student in her school.  Actually her very close friend, who even texted her the date they planned to kill her.  “April 13 is going to be a blast!”  This hit our family hard, but we took this struggle and we attacked it like we would our sporting lives.  We knew that it was just a bump in our training and it was eventually going to make us all stronger!  A torn Achilles one may say.  Fortunately, it gave me an opportunity to practice what I preach and to work with her through her fear, anxiety, broken heart and devastation.

The entire time I kept explaining to her that this person just needs love, and we would take time out of our days to do just that.  Send this person love.  I talk about it to her when she brings it up.  She saw this individual lately and of course it stirred up many emotions in her, but I explained to her that this is all things she has to work through to make her stronger for whatever life is going to throw her way next.

Another big life lesson that this situation opened the door for me was to teach her to not take anything personally.  This is the other person’s problem, not hers.  She is just being caught in the cross fire of their inner issues.  Any time my children feel like they are being attacked in some way, I stress that it isn’t their problem and they shouldn’t take it personally.  This is the second of the “Four Agreements” found in the book “Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom” by Don Miguel Ruiz taken from the Ancient Mexican Toltec wisdom.  If you are looking for a great book on freeing yourself from this crazy world, I definitely recommend this one.

My son is no different.  He has his life struggles too, and we work through them the same as I do with my daughter.  I have made both of them listen to the Four Agreements that are found on Youtube, and hopefully they keep this ancient wisdom in their brains as a strengthening tool for their life to come.  My mission is to give them as many strengthening tools as I possibly can!

The Universe sends us many strengthening tools, just like we use in sports.  I’m sure everyone is familiar with the basic bench press?  This is a strengthening tool created to strengthen our chest muscles…or pectoral muscles to be exact!  Well, life gives us many bench presses in the run of our lives to help strengthen ourselves as human beings.  As parents we are going to watch our children struggle under the weight of the bench press, but we have to let them bench press it themselves.  We can stand and maybe spot them through it if they need us, but we can’t bench press it for them.  We have to let them get sore from their attempts and try the bench press again.

Nothing is more rewarding than watching your child increase their ability to press more weight on the bench press as they strengthen through their constant struggles.  The same is true with life.  We all have to struggle with the weight of the bench press to strengthen ourselves and move forward in this world.

There is a great quote that I am sure you’ve all heard before, “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger.” That quote is attributed to the German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche, who Netflix did a great episode on in “Geniuses of the Ancient World” which I recommend you watching too.  Actually, he said it much more eloquently: “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” And, if you look at life like a sport and our struggles as a bench press, surprisingly this man is right!