Please welcome my guest blogger, Mark from SmallSteps2Health! Share your motherhood-and-apple-pie life philosophies, help build the definition of “heart, and be sure to send some rawr-love his way! http://smallsteps2health.wordpress.com/
As a “Jack of all sports and master of none” growing up, I was really never the best at anything I did.
I spent countless hours playing football, baseball, basketball and everything else with a pack of kids who roamed Sausalito like stray dogs (back when this was normal parenting practice of course). I was always short for my age and was never picked first when teams were formed, but I always managed to compete and hold my own. I’ve mentioned before that until I decided to take school seriously I was a below average student, and it took at least 2 years of hard work before I could see tangible academic strides. The pattern has also held up from a career and health & fitness perspective as well. What I’ve found is that you don’t have to be “the best” at anything to be successful.
You just need a commitment to trying, enough confidence (and a solid support network) to weather challenges, and “heart.”
Most athletes know heart when they see it, but may not have ever really thought about what goes into it. The visible outcome of having heart includes passion, tenacity, focus and all-in level effort. “All out effort” may sound better grammatically, but I think heart is more about going “all in”, so I’m sticking with it. I’m not an expert on “heart”, but have always had it. Thus, as an non-scientific sample of 1, I think some of the underpinnings of heart include being hungry/needy (for more in general), some degree of fear that unless you give it your all you may fail miserably, and the belief that if you consistently give your best effort, you’ll improve and accomplish your goals. As a child, we were of limited means, my parents both worked, and nothing came easy to my family. Thus, having “heart” was never an option for me if I wanted anything to be different or better.
Luckily my wife and I have worked hard, have successful careers and have been able to provide a different, more stable life for our children. My kids are well-adjusted, smart and both have more natural athletic ability than I did. I sometimes struggle with the fact that they don’t ‘give it their all’, go all in, work at things the way they could. I’ve seen flashes of “heart” in both of them, so I know it’s in there, but it doesn’t rise to the surface as often as I would like. As a parent, I don’t want my kid’s needs/wants to go unmet, I don’t want them to be scared of anything, and I want them to feel like they can achieve anything they work toward. I don’t force them to watch “Rudy”, although that may work it’s way into my parenting journey. I do work hard to connect (their) effort to results, have repeatedly told them a few of my core “daddy philosophies” since they were newborns including things like “you’re in charge of your body” (so treat it well and don’t let anyone else control it or hurt it), “If you do well in school, you can be whatever you want when you’re older” and “It doesn’t matter if you/your team wins, as long as you give it your all.”
I know these may seem a bit like motherhood and apple pie, but my kids have heard these messages their entire lives, and I love this fact. Lastly, my wife and I work to ensure that our kids don’t have everything handed to them, they have chores and responsibilities, and earn an allowance. Will these practices help them develop heart and a hunger for life? I don’t know, because they’re 10 and 12 and I have a lot of parenting left to do. I am optimistic that it will ensure they grow into well-balanced, productive and happy adults.
While this may not sound like my typical smallsteps2health blog topic, I offer the following as a bridge:
- There is a high correlation between successful parenting and mental health for any parent,
- Acting with “heart” can help you become more fit and healthy, and
- remember “you’re in charge of your body” – so take care of it and protect it.
Now that you love Mark as much as I do, check out his blog for more motivational stories, exercise and health tips, and the regular reassuring message that “small steps add up”. If I were you, I’d start here: