NOTE: This Article was published 20 Years ago, and especially in today’s climate? Truer than EVER before— EVERYTHING begins at Home”!
At the time of this article’s publication, my youngest son, Evan will have competed in Indianapolis, Indiana for a slot on the Sydney 2000 Olympic Swim team or will have officially have officially begun his collegiate swimming career at the University of Tennessee. My oldest son Carl, is a junior Mechanical Engineering Major, Academic and Athletic All- American and swimmer at Georgia tech.
The following “Gems from Jo Dee” is my synopsis from 12 years of single parenting these two Godly young men.
- The children who are the highest maintenance in the formative years will make you the most proud in their adult year. OR? The due that you pay in time and emotional investment on the FRONT END will be rewarded on the back end! Tie a rope and hang on for a whale of a ride!
- Find your child’s innate gifts early on, whether it’s swimming or tidily winks! This will create THE most important element in their success make-up for life. The by product will be daily discipline. A parent can only CREATE an environment. What are the things they are willing to do NO MATTER WHAT… with NO recognition?
- When you child succeeds, avoid the temptation of living vicariously through their accomplishments. This temptation only adds EXTRA pressure. Carl’s Georgia Tech Swim Coach promotes this success formula: Parents parent, Coaches coach, and Swimmers swim”
- Whatever you do? Do it to the best of YOUR ability at that time! This MAY NOT always equate to a First Place Ribbon or Best Time. As the adage goes: Your gifts are God’s gifts to you, what you do those gifts are your gifts back to God. When you hit a setback or roadblock, rehearse your past successes at this time. A current popular Country Song says: “I’ve been there, and I’m gonna get back again.”
- Catch your children doing things right! This will in turn begin the cycle of the child speaking well about himself. Evan called himself the ‘Amazing Evan’ in early childhood. A Chines Proverb says: Speak highly about yourself, for what you say is ultimately what others will say.
- Beware of the people who will crush your trophies. There WILL be irregular people or basement people in your life. I’ve always taught that there are three types of people: The Pluses, Equals, and Minuses. A truly successful person has developed a rhinoceros skin and maintained a soft heart. Your opposers can only kick you from behind when you’re out in front!
- Beware of the roadblocks or self-sabotage. FOCUS stands for: Following One Course Until Successful! Detours can come from anywhere. When tempted by sexual peer pressure, both my Sons have said: I can ALWAYS be like them, but they can NEVER be like me!
- Teach your children that a weakness worked on can turn into a strength. Weaknesses are opportunities to grow! Evan channeled his hyperactive, boundless energy into distance swimming.
- A parent’s roles goes from Dictator, to Director, to Coach, to Consultant. Gradually snip at that umbilical cord as they grow and mature. Doing this with positive, directive discipline will strengthen communication trough to their adult years. For when the umbilical cord IS cut in adulthood, there will STILL be a tie that binds.
- Remember the Lion within. I have a picture of a kitten looking into a mirror. What the kitten sees in their reflection is a lion! Whatever the world sees is secondary. What YOU see on the inside is what REALLY counts.