Friday, March 12, 2010

Team story

I recently bought laptops for my two girls. Since we homeschool and are moving to a completely computer-driven curriculum, we really needed to do so. But I got them before they needed them (read: We had the money to do so at the time). We’re not starting them on the new curricula until their next grade level, so I didn’t allow them to just jump in and start using their computers right away. J-mom and I felt that they had to earn them.

Daughter Number 2 is in gymnastics. Very recently she was in pre-team and working toward getting on team. Our stipulation for getting her laptop was that she had to either perfect her back hand spring or make team. DN2 is our hard-headed child, but she loves gymnastics. It’s interesting to watch the different desires at war in her head. On one side, she wants to slack off, talk to her friends and be the social butterfly that’s inherent to her nature. Fighting this is her competitive nature and desire to excel in gymnastics. She recognizes her ability and she really does want to progress. The practical upshot of this is that some nights she tries really hard. Other nights she does not.

DN2 and three other girls were accepted onto team on a trial basis last week. They had to prove that they belonged there. “You’re going to have to prove you belong there. You have to work your hardest all the time.” The salient point to her was: “How much would it suck if you didn’t try your hardest and they told you almost made it?” She took that advice to heart for two nights of practice, but her final night, she seemed to just kind of blow it off. This Monday they found out whether or not they made team. DN2 and one of the other girls made team. While proud of her, I was actually kind of surprised that her behavior the previous Friday hadn’t doomed her chances.

I love that I learn as much, or perhaps even more, through these experiences. I was defining expectations to DN2 based on my perceptions. Without being provided any real objective criteria, it was kind of hard not to. So when she slacked off that one night, I was under the impression that it was the deal breaker. It would have been under my set of expectations, but the coaches were able to see the talent and drive DN2 possesses even if she still needs to sharpen her discipline. I probably need to start looking more toward a person’s talent, skills and abilities and stop defining things by my expectations. That applies to lots of things in my life – both in how I measure successes personally and professionally and in how I base encounters in everyday life.

Daughter Number 1 had to write a story. She is a voracious reader and likes to express herself artistically. It seemed the natural thing to do. Get her to write some kind of story. We didn’t even try and hedge her into any kind of mold. Just write something. She balked at the idea for weeks. However, when DN2 plopped down to start surfing the webbernets on her own laptop, it lit a fire under DN1’s butt.

So she asked us to help her out. To get her some examples of what a story contains. I forgot, so J-mom was good enough to do the Google for me. What DN1 came up with was fantastic. I’m tweaking it right now and getting her to expand some sections, but I’m thinking about asking her if I can post it here. It’s a micro hero’s quest.

Anyway, I’m not sure what the moral is or anything. I guess it has something to do with the power of bribery.

With both girls soon to be tick-a-tacking away on their own laptops, I do think my boy is gonna be jealous.


Andy said...

Cullen, if she will let you post it, I'd like to read the story myself.

Randi said...

And obviously me too! I am so proud to be their aunt! I love you all.