I don’t believe in constant strive, strive, strive and that exhausting sense of always trying to achieve more. It an be exhausting and it can take us away from many moments that should just be mindfully enjoyed. And whilst I love the mantras you are enough and accept yourself as important tin stopping feelings of inadequacy in life, I also think they can sometimes limit us.
Challenging ourselves does have many benefits; it helps us reach new heights, be fitter, smarter, more talented, wiser, kinder and just more of who we already are in many ways.
I really think it is important children see adults challenge themselves on a regular and dynamic basis, so they see how rewarding and fulfilling this can be. Children do what you do not what you say so role modelling is always one of the best ways to teach life lessons.
Recently I did a 3 mile Sports Relief challenge, sponsored by Wayfair . This was a huge personal challenge as I have a chronic respiratory condition that limits my lung capacity. I had to train for many weeks to do this, lose weight and mentally really gear myself up for my challenge. It made me fitter and raised over £1000 for a great charity. I shared both my aims and my training plan with my kids and they accompanied me on some of my practice walks. They were behind me 100% and proud of me I think for pushing myself.
I hope they learned from my experience that challenges can be rewarding and that to undertake them you need to plan, put in sustained effort and keep focussed on your goals. We had a lot of laughs along the way and enjoyed the journey too. I think that is very important because if I had not reached the goal their would still have been achievements; increased fitness and walking distance as well as some fun times together. Challenges cannot just be about goals or they could end in great disappointment.
Currently my son is undertaking the challenge of learning the keyboard. Music is new to him and it isn’t easy and he is having to practice and set mini goals such as learning a small piece or a set of chords. The small wins spur him on as do our positive feedback.
My daughter is attempting to learn her times tables. She has no choice about this challenge and it does at times threaten to overwhelm her, make her stressed, bored and frustrated with herself. We have broken it down into small steps, have days off doing it, try to make it fun and relaxed and give lots of positive feedback along the way and yes we do really celebrate her small wins.
So what have I learned
Having a cheerleading team and someone to mop up tears of frustration makes challenges easier. Smaller goals, a plan and fun along the way help too. Challenges can be amazing but rest time and time off being challenged is important too. Letting your children see that even as an adult you can push yourself will inspire them greatly.
I did my walk, there were tears of frustration and pride, there were giggles and cheers I am stronger and fitter and I raised lots of money. Lise nearly knows her time table and Frankie is playing a few tunes.
Embracing challenges with positivity, preparation and persistence are key to succeeding but also (and I cannot stress this enough) enjoy the process of learning and developing. The end result is nowhere near as important as the effort and attitude in which a challenge is embraced. let your children know you believe this.
It is is important to challenge ourselves and we should encourage children to embrace a challenge and not be daunted. We need to show them the way by doing this ourselves.