Thursday, July 22, 2010

The hidden benefit of being mean

Good morning! Well it appears that at least one of our young stewards experienced the return of a bug. Graham missed practice last night due to some intestinal problems (that is a nice way of saying severe diarrhea) He was disappointed, as this prevented him from attending team Tae Kwon Do practice. Sydney simply found it completely unfair as she had no desire to practice last night and was "forced" to go all by her lonesome.

Poor Sydney.

Oh, and if you know her, she plays it up to. Before practice there is all kinds of moaning.
  • "I hate Tae Kwon Do."
  • "I don't like sparring."
  • "I don't wanna go."
  • "I'm not going to do it."
I mean, honestly, if you listened to her dramatic act you would have to assume that I must be the meanest father in the world for dragging my sweet little, cancer ridden daughter to such an activity. How could I do that? What a bastard I am!

Worse yet, it happens this way more days than not and on many days there are even real genuine tears.

Here is the catch. Almost the moment she arrives her attitude changes. By the end of most practices, she is downright giddy. Every night I will ask her - "How was practice? (even though I know because we watch every moment.) and she will usually tell me how fun it was. On some occasions, she will tell us how horrible it was but that seems to be in direct opposite correlation with how well Graham did in comparison. If Graham beat her, it was her worst day ever. If she gave it her all and dominated her little brother, it was her best day ever. For the most part, though, she comes away from practice with a big smile on her face - especially if she receives praise.

Like so many things in our life, it is just like the movie Groundhog Day. We go to bed, we wake up, and then the whole process starts over as if the day before never happened. The moment we get ready to leave, Sydney screams and moans about how horrible Tae Kwon Do is. Then, she practices hard. And then, she loves it.

Day in and day out.

On days when she is in particularly bad spirits I often think about letting her quit. Why go through all of the drama? What I quickly realize is, if it wasn't this it would be something else. It is the routine and the requirement of going to practice that makes her so incorrigible.

And, isn't the reward received from hard work and dedication the lesson we are trying to teach here?

Without all of the drama the lesson may not be nearly so well learned. In that sense, I guess it really is worth it.

So, the next time you see me dragging my kicking and screaming daughter to Tae Kwon Do practice please take it with a grain of salt. We are actually trying to teach her something here.

With purpose it is the journey that it is the real reward.

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