Thursday, November 18, 2010

That Got Me Thinking

You have to read this amazing story. You just have to! We attended the annual "Young Women in Excellence" program at our church last night for the 12-18 year old girls where they all shared the goals they've been working on and received awards they've earned. (Just about the last thing Kate likes to do is speak in front of people, but I keep telling her it's good for her and she does a fine job!) The guest speaker shared this story and compared it to life. I've been thinking about it ever since - so much so that I googled it to share with the whole family at dinner tonight. I think what impresses me most about this story (besides the obvious) is how and why this man developed such an ability: because he had to. He didn't run track in high school with his parents and coaches cheering him on, he didn't compete in college, or train as an adult with a bunch of technical gear. He could run like that because when he was young his family was too poor to buy tractors or horses, so he had to herd their 2000 sheep over 2000 acres all by himself, days on end. I was thinking of him when I had a conversation today with someone about their 19-year-old son who only has one part-time job and doesn't want to help pay rent.

That got me thinking about the 6 part-time jobs I had the year after high school to earn money to go to college the following year. (Pizza Hut waitress, hostessing at a floating restaurant on the Mississippi, piano teacher, a couple sales jobs, and babysitting.)

And that got me thinking about the crazy challenge it was at the end of every semester of college to figure out how I would get from Utah to Illinois for Christmas or summer break since I didn't have a car. (The funniest story being the time I hitched a ride in someone's moving van. True story. I shared a couch with a hitchhiker in camos and a freshman band nerd who passed a lot of gas and tried to massage my back the whole time.)

And that got me thinking about the summer after my sophomore year when I worked 12 hours a day every day in the kitchen of a fish cannery in Kodiak, Alaska without ever having a day off to earn money for my mission in Japan.

And that got me thinking about that mission in Japan - living in a foreign country, learning to speak Japanese, approaching people that thought I was a religious freak, biking all over tarnation up and down mountains in a dress with a humiliating helmet on my head (it was a mission rule, but NO Japanese people wore helmets).

And that got me thinking about working 30 hours a week playing the piano for ballet classes on campus and ballet studios off campus until I got carpal tunnel syndrome, since when I wasn't the playing the piano I was typing up term papers for the18 credit hours I was carrying.

And that got me thinking of moving to Iowa after graduation, Brandon starting med school, and me giving birth to Kate three weeks later - forever altering our previously dreamy relationship as co-student newlyweds. There would be some periods during residency when Brandon worked up to 130 hours A WEEK (you read that right - he'd come home every OTHER day for a few hours to sleep) while I was at home struggling with post-partum depression. Ahh, good times!

And that got me thinking about motherhood and marathons, and how all those years and experiences leading up to that point prepared me for the mother of all marathons: motherhood. (Couldn't resist that.)

And that got me thinking about all the moms out there, running their years long marathons, and how much support they need so they don't physically, mentally or emotionally drop out and head for the nearest day spa.

And that got me thinking about how thankful I am for The Power of Moms and all the opportunities it is giving me to help other mothers while getting the support I need as well.

And that got me thinking about how much I still have to learn as a mother, all the ways I can improve, and how in the world to teach children to do hard things like Cliff Young did because he had to - if they don't have to?

I'm sure my parents would have loved to provide some of the things for me that other parents provided for their children (heaven knows I envied those other co-eds with their super cute clothes and money left over for skiing), and even though those things were hard in their own way (not herding 2000 sheep over 2000 acres on foot hard, but still), they really did make me who I am today.

How do you instill drive, desire and motivation in a child when there isn't a desperate need or clear knowledge that the buck stops with them and nobody will come bail them out?  Can you create these types of experiences for your children?  I'm sure Cliff Young's parents wanted nothing more than to be able to buy horses and tractors, and if they'd had the money they would have done it in a heart beat.  But then there would be no "young-shuffle", no inspiring story.

Do I do too much for my children? As they grow older, will they feel a sense of personal responsibility for their futures, for their dreams?

It's just got me thinking.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Allyson, I had some time over the weekend so while I was reading on the Power of Mom’s website I came over to check out your blog and read this post. I LOVE IT!!! I read the story last night at the dinner table to our kids and after I read the story about Cliff Young I followed up by reading everyone your post. And we had a great discussion about this “entitled generation”. Which my 21 year old daughter agreed with you on as she talked about her friends and even herself. What a great topic and some really interesting insight. There is really not an easy answer as a parent to know the right amount of support we should be giving our kids. It was a fun discussion so thanks for sharing this.


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