Monday, July 12, 2010

Thought I'd update on the gym training situation with Caitlin.


I was feeling lost and conflicted about this. On one hand, did not want to be pushy mom but on the other, feeling like this was such a complete waste of talent and opportunity! Prayed about it and in the bus, I told God I'd just leave it to Him to show me the answers. And He did!


He gave me the opportunity to speak to two friendly moms whose girls are also on the national training squad. One of them has a girl who is in the same school, same class as Cait and who's also on the school team. She is highly talented and very advanced in gym.


Listening and talking to these two moms, thinking deeply about my own situation, being advised by the comments of friends etc led to several conclusions:


1) We have the wider perspective as adults so we owe it to the child to give them the perspective they lack. Cait just wants to be a kid. She is reacting like a kid. She wants friends, craves approval and friendship and affirmation, hates boring drillwork, prefers to stick to the tried and true comfort zone. But as her mom, there will be times when I just have to put my foot down and steer her in the direction she may not want to go. That, according to one gym mom's earnest explanation, is NOT pushing. If given enough time and perspective and experience, the child still decides that this is not for her, then yes, time to call it a day. But until then, we have to give them every opportunity to discover and to stick with stuff they may not like. That's our job as parents.


2) Some hard stuff are worth sticking it out. The hard lessons you learn about sticking to stuff you don't like, doing the boring drillwork and seemingly elementary details, will pay off in the long run. I was given lesson after lesson in gym in those two long afternoons I spent at the gym watching them train and for that, I am grateful to these mums for explaining and sharing their time, experience and perspective.

In competition, when we see those fabulous leaps and turns and flips, our jaws drop. But the reality is harder. Judges keep an eagle eye out for the slightest imperfection in those turns and points are deducted for every little deviation. Gymnasts who do not have the fundamentals firmly in place may have a hard time teaching their bodies to 'un-learn' the incorrect moves and conditioning them again appropriately. So everytime Cait yawns about doing "the easy stuff" I remind her to be patient - it will pay off in the long run.

Similarly, sticking it out in training will teach her about tenacity, responsibility, commitment. In life there are hard lessons all the time that we need not like what we have to do, but we just have to do it. We just pray for patience and grace in these times.

I explained to Cait seriously about the opportunities she would forgo if she quit now. So many kids will want the place she has in the training squad. If she leaves the squad, where will she get such training opportunities and with these coaches? I learned that several of them had a hand in training the Chinese Olympic squad. What a valuable experience. How to pass this up? And if she does, what then? The next best club that trains the better gymnasts (and several of her school team-mates are training here) is Prime. But Prime costs an arm and a leg. I told her that I could not afford thousand-dollar training fees. I had to also consider her siblings' other needs and money needs to be stretched very carefully.

So the best thing for her would be to stick with training here. For now at least. Who knows what will happen in 3 months? Perhaps she might not even make the cut to the final team selection. But for now, she just has to not only stick it out, but give her best and learn all she can.

11 comments:

Karmeleon said...

And what does Ms Cait think about it?

Anonymous said...

人並不是生來要吃敗仗的。人可被毀滅,但不可被擊倒。..................................................................

Anonymous said...

Sounds like it's still your ambition that's driving this ...

Momto5 said...

Really? I guess that's the way it would go then. At least for the next three months. Anonymous, you should be so glad you're not my kid. :-)

Momto5 said...

Sam, Cait sees my point. She may not like it but she sees it. Prime gym training is just too costly for us and if she loves gym that much, her only option is really to stick to national training.

Karmeleon said...

I think as long as the timing can be managed and the child doesn't object, then it's quite fine. Ultimately, I'll still seek the child's agreement.

Glad I'm not in your situation though! I didn't allow Tim to try out for SNYO end of last year bc I couldn't see us having to ferry and extra location 2x/week nor Tim having to make time for it. Anyway, not a biggie. He does need extra challenge notwithstanding. But it's really different from a physical sport and your situation.

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