Monday, January 18, 2016

En Garde!

Ethan has long had a fascination with swords and sword-like implements.  From wrapping paper rolls to plastic light sabres to daggers and samurai swords, if he can swing it he loves it.  So 3 years ago, when we were set to arrive in Boise at the beginning of summer, I was happy to find a fencing class to help fill the long days.

Sometime last year the man who taught that summer class started the first fencing club in Boise.  Ethan was one of the first students which was nice because for a time he basically received one-on-one lessons.

Ethan is now at the point of attending competitions and this past weekend the entire family travelled to a competition in another state.  The competition did not go well for Ethan. I believe he decided early on that he could not win therefore he didn't.

The experience woke me up.  My parenting style seems to be opposite of most these days.  I would say I take a hands-off, sink-or-swim approach to everything including fencing.  I am the driver and the check writer.   Beyond that I thought I could be Ethan's head cheerleader, but this weekend showed me that I need to be more.  I know nothing of the rules of fencing therefore I am incapable of offering any advice.

Eric and I struggled with the fact that Ethan's coach was not present.  It meant Ethan was on his own out on the fencing strip while his opponents had coaches encouraging and instructing. Ethan is smart and strong and I believe fencing is the perfect sport for him, but he is also driven which results in him not being okay with anything less than 100%, first place, the best.  I could not convince him that there was great value in the experience,  that it's not about winning. At the end of the competition we were all frustrated and crabby.  I badly wished his coach was there to help, but I realized that I am going to have to step up and learn some things because I don't know how often a coach will be around.  So today I begin the process of educating myself in the sport of fencing.

En garde!

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Attitude of Gratitude

Because I believe every blog post should include a photo, I'm including this picture of one of my poinsettias.  My kids' school sells them every year as a fundraiser.   This was my first year remembering to order them and I must say they are the most beautiful poinsettias I've ever seen.  I will definitely be ordering again next Christmas!

As I write it is a little past 3 a.m.  This blog was born a number of years ago when I frequently found myself unable to sleep.  I seem to be in another of those sleepless patterns so perhaps I will use the time to write again.   On this particular night night I have little choice of activities as I am away from home in a hotel with my family.  

As I sit in the quiet my thoughts go to a recent Facebook post from a faraway friend.   She is going to be speaking to a group on the topic of gratitude.   The phrase "attitude of gratitude" is circling in my brain; my friend mentioned it as a practice.   I am wondering how my life (and the lives of those around me) would change if I would adopt such an attitude.   It seems quite obvious that we would all be changed for the better.

Immediately I am able to think of so much to be grateful for.   So what if I cannot sleep! I'm sitting in a warm hotel room; I enjoyed an abundant dinner last night; my family is healthy.  These simple thoughts easily and immediately spiral to so many things I have to be grateful for!

Also on Facebook, a friend shared a writing from another friend who had recently left her youngest child at college.  It was a very moving piece about the sadness of no more children at home.  That day is still future for me but I do know that it will arrive all too quickly.  Thinking of this allowed me to be grateful for my children even when they were needing a referee earlier.

My first taste of practicing gratitude is shockingly easy and oh-so-pleasant.   This could and should be a wonderful new beginning!