I started this article with the title of "Why health and fitness has nothing to do with he way you look". While I do plan to have that be my next article, the problem that I faced while writing this, was I realized I was writing all about how my dad instilled hard work in me at a young age and not to toot my own horn, but I think he did a freaking amazing job. So I had to change the topic. Now that I have a 2.5 year old, I think it's fitting I talk about instilling key factors in kids at a young age to help them develop into hardworking kids, teens, and adults.
I like to think I have a major work ethic. I like to think I am dedicated, driven and perseverant. When life knocks you down you get back up. I had always thought that came to me naturally, that I was born that way. But honestly the more I wrote below, the more I realized it had everything to do with the way I brought up. And THATS A MIRACLE TO ME! Because I have a toddler, and if I was TAUGHT that, I can teach my little girl the same thing! So in that way, hard work can be taught. I think it's easier to teach this when the kids are younger though, because then that is the only way they know. That's How I was brought up. So here's the story on how I was impressioned to be the hard working kick butt woman I am now. And how you can teach it too.
Let's kick this off with the 6 main points I am going to hit.
All 6 of these are intertwined and connected. They feed off of each other, so if you are able to do one, your are able to do two or three or 6.
My dad made it very clear that the one thing no one could take away from you was your hard work, your persistence and your perseverance.
My dad coached me in everything; t-ball, soccer, volleyball, etc. And when I finally picked volleyball as my sport of choice, he was beside me every step of the way. At age 11 he would take me in the front yard and help me practice my form and technique. At age 13 he would get up with me at 6am before school and train me. We would do dot drills in the basement, play competitive games with my reaction ball, he would help me lift at our home gym. At age 14+ he would take my the court before practice, stay with me after practice, and do lessons with me on my off days to train. To make me better. There were times I didn't want to. As a teen you want to take the easy way a lot of the time. Go home early, miss practice, not train extra. He made it very clear that to be the best, you had to work harder than everyone else. These extra things never hurt me, but they did teach me a few things.
- So how did that help my confidence? It showed me that the harder I worked, the better I was. He continued to tell me no one could be better than me if I outworked them. The harder I worked, the more I believed him. The harder I worked, the more confidence I had.
-Application: Push your kids. Make them uncomfortable. Make them work hard and receive the fruits of their labor. Make them do things they might not want to do, and along the way BE THERE FOR THEM. Even if it means you hold their hard while they mow the lawn, make them mow the lawn.
That leads me to number 2. He believed in me. Or he at least made ME believe he believed in me. When we would train together and do little competitive drills, like my reaction ball drill, he'd lose sometimes. It may have been on purpose? I'm not sure! But he showed me I was capable of beating him. If I could beat him, I could beat anyone, because no one is better or stronger or smarter than your dad, right? Not only did he show me he believed, he TOLD me he believed. If I had a rough practice, shanked a ball, etc. the FIRST thing that came out of his mouth was, get up and do it again, because you can do it. This taught me to believe in myself, too. If I didn't get it the first time, I was told I would do it the second time. Fall down once, get up twice.
-Confidence: I don't even need to explain. The more I got down and got back up, the stronger I knew I was. All because he believed in me, so I believed in me.
-Application: Show your kids you believe in them, tell them your believe in them. Your kids think your the best thing on this earth, and if YOU tell them they can do anything, THEY WILL BELIEVE IT.
Number 1 and 3 go hand in hand. No matter how hard things got, no matter how many times I failed, or got yanked out of games or lost, he was there (both of my parents were). I never ever questioned their support. They came to every game, every talent show, every award I got (athletic or academic) I mean gosh, I can't think of one thing they weren't there for. Even at my bikini competition this year my moms as there, and the only reason my dad wasn't was because he was in another state with my brother supporting HIM and his goals and dreams.
-Confidence: How does support grow confidence? I knew I was never alone. I knew I had someone to lean on and vent to. I knew no matter what happened I was loved. I knew they knew how great I was even on my bad days.
-Application: This is a no brainer. Support them. Be there for them. Listen to them. Go to practice, or recitals, or what ever it is that is important to them! SHOW them and TELL them you support what they do and love!
Of course that leads into number 4. Telling them how great they are (when they deserve it). Of course, you don't praise bad behavior but be sure to go above and beyond when they do it right! My parents would talk me up one side and down the other about how fantastic I was when I did something right. Strait A's, good games, being nice, accomplishing new feats. This made me want to please them more. I loved praise! What doesn't!? which in return, caused me to not want to disappoint them. I wanted them to continue to praise me, and when I didn't get that because I lied, didn't do my best, massively disappointed them, etc it sucked. But because of the previous things they taught me, I was able to get back up and try again.
-Confidence: I don't need to explain how praise creates confidence. The more you hear how great you are, the more you believe it.
-Application: Can you imagine having a kid/s who don't want to disappoint you? Who look up to you enough to not do something that will hurt them because you have done such a great job at telling them how great they are? Everytime they do it right, you better be telling them!
5. Keep Them Accountable
Alright, so I wasn't perfect. I made a ton of mistakes. I still do. And my parents still keep me accountable for my actions. They let me know when I did something wrong. If I needed to apologize, they told me and made me. Example: I called in as my mom my senior year (okay I called in a few times) and excused myself from class so I could go to lunch with my friends. My parents found out and my dad gave me two options. 1. Hold a sign in front of school that said "I am a liar" or go in and apologize to the front desk. I in no way am saying publicly humiliate your kid/s.... But make sure they fix their wrong doings. I never again called in. If I had a bad game because I didn't give my full effort, my dad let me know about it... He didn't tolerate half assed work ethic.
-Confidence: I'm not saying that being punished helped my confidence. But when I did it right the second time and DIDN'T get in trouble, I knew I was doing it right. Doing it right the second time helped my confidence. Also knowing I properly fixed my wrong doing helped my confidence.
-Application: When your kids mess up, doing ignore it. Don't (metaphorically or literally) beat them for it, but make sure they know and make sure they fix it THEMSELVES.
Funny back story: I am a forgetful person, and my parents are I agree it's because of the way they DIDN'T keep me accountable in some ways. Example: I was captain of my volleyball team pretty much every year. When I was younger that meant keeping track of the med bag. This was our teams medical bag with all necessary medical supplies. I forgot it. Everywhere. Everywhere we went I forgot it. Want to know what my parents did? They got it for me. Every time. Because they didn't want to see me fail. Because they were SO good at number 3- Support. What they should have done is made me take fault for my actions. As a result, I am a very forgetful mom, wife, and human in general. Im working on it haha
6. Lead By Example
My dad was so good at this. He would get up early before work and workout too. He would work hard at work every single day, and even when work got hard and stressful (cue the market crash of 2008 when we almost lost our house) he never let it stop him. He worked harder. He got up earlier. My dad is the pinnacle of hard work, dedication, and perseverance. *I am not crying while writing this, Im cutting an onion* What better way to show your children how to live than by showing them.
Do these every day. Tell and show your kids how much you love them. Tell them the world is their for the taking. Never show them you think you can't do something. Be their guidance, their helping hand, their shoulder to cry on, their kick in the butt, all at the same time. It's possible, and it will create amazing kids.