Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Elie's new bike

It seems like the first "big kid" bike should be a big deal. We considered getting her one for her Birthday, but that would be November. Who wants a bike in the middle of winter?! We decided to just get the bike and go for it, even though there is no special occasions. Elie loves it. She rode it to the park right after this video was shot and around the lake the next day. I am glad to say she has improved since this was recorded.

Which brings us to a dilemma that Matt and I have been discussing. What if your child really sucks at something, do you encourage them to try and to get better or steer them in a different direction? Elie has some areas that she excels in and, well, athletics doesn't really appear to be one of them. Yes, she is only 4 and she may grow up to be an amazing soccer player yet, but I wouldn't bet the big money on it.

As a parent, how do you encourage your children by acknowledging strengths yet not pigeon-holing them? I want to encourage her to excel in the areas that God has gifted her and also let her know that it is ok to enjoy something she may never be good at. It is ok to not always be number one. How do I teach my child that sometimes we work really hard and we still fail? I want her to have confidence based in reality.

I guess it comes down to this; Elie has a new bike. She loves her bike. She feels big and is enjoying the challenge. If we can ever get her to stop starring at her feet as she peddles and teach her how to break, she may be the next Lance Armstrong. For today, the princess bike will be fine.


NLWilliams said...

I loved a comment I heard from former president Bill Clinton who said that he admired his daughter, Chelsea, b/c she did ballet. She did ballet even though she was too tall and not very graceful and came home in tears with her feet bleeding, but she loved it. He knew and she knew that she would never be very good at it, but she had fun and loved doing it. He said (paraphrase b/c I don't remember exactly) I have never done anything I wasn't successful at: politics, saxophone...I don't really know how to fail well.

I loved that b/c that's what I want for my kids too...I know I really only try those things that bring me success, when I could try those things that bring me joy...and joy is a much deeper and more beautiful form of success, right?

good luck, Gretchen!

McHam Family said...

Ok, love the post friend.

I will say that my parents steered me away from all things athletic but it turned out I just couldn't SEE. Got lasik at 23 and for the first time in my life had 20/20 vision. Now Mark calls my reflexes "cat like" (ok it's a family joke but seriously!) When he throws a ball to me I can catch it on the first try 99% of the time. Turns out it was probably my vision all along and my whole life I just thought I stunk at anything athletic. You never know. My advice? Let her pick. If she likes it, enjoys it, by all means encourage it. Just let her know that God made us all different and gave us all strengths and talents to use for His purpose.

Kari said...

She's so cute on it!

It took me until the age of 24 to learn that I don't have to be great at something to enjoy it, I just need to do it! I think I would have enjoyed college more if I'd had the confidence to just get out there and do things rather than worrying about how I sucked or lacked skills compared to others. Giving her the gift of confidence is priceless: to be confident in excelling and confident in being average.

Honeycutt Family said...

Great post, Gretch. I can so relate (as you know).

I like the comments above. I think what you are doing is what is best---teaching her that God gives us all strengths and weaknesses, yet giving her the self-confidence to try whatever she wants to try knowing that some things take a lot of practice and hard work. I want to instill perseverance in Grace and Reese.

I'm glad we have each other to muddle through this together...