Friday, January 10, 2014

We are all as different as snow flakes...

I love snow... it's beautiful and has a special feel.  I love the moonscape appearance it creates.  And the way the cold winter sky looks like deep rich velvet contrasting with the brightness caused by the snow...

That being said... the best thing I have ever heard was the news forecast this morning calling for mid-forties and rain! Because I am done with the snow.  In this area either we don't know how to deal with it or folks are simply too lazy.  I am tired of impassable roads, non-shoveled side walks, sliding on floors that are covered in a salty, slushy, watery mix.  I am ready for the rain.


Last night Hubby and I had the pleasure of spending a couple of hours with our grand baby.  We took her to her last soccer clinic of the session.  It was so much fun!  We would have loved more time with her, but it wasn't meant to be.  She hasn't had a lot of time with Dad this past year and she was seriously eating up the attention he has been giving her.  I can't blame her.

I was so stunned watching the difference between the soccer program that my daughter has her in, and the herd ball we used to watch the twins play.  She's only seven and was being taught how to properly dribble, pass, stop and basically control the ball.  They were doing drills.  Good drills.

The coaches knew their stuff and they were working hard to insure the kids learned them in a positive, upbeat and encouraging manner.  They were gently correcting moves and encouraging the kids to pick up the tempo.  The pep rally before was positive, enforcing the belief that they alone were responsible for any improvement and skills they mastered.

They ended the same way.  It was positive, uplifting, encouraging, and at the same time it was talking about responsibility and dedication.  They were gently, firmly and lovingly encouraging these young girls to take full responsibility for their success or failure.  It was so refreshing!

Flashing back to the girls, we watched them from age 7 to about age 11, they played in a school district league.  They didn't play soccer, they played herd ball.  There was no attempt to teach skills, no desire to encourage the girls to be successful and to grow.  It was all about sameness, it was about not keeping score and everyone being the same.  There was no score keeping so that no feelings got hurt.  And no push for them to own their success or failure.  It killed me to watch it.  In their attempt to make sure no one's self-esteem got injured, they destroyed something far more valuable.

We are not all the same, each of us is unique and has wonderful treasures to share with the world.  This current mentality of sameness, is truly not designed to spare anyone's feelings, at least not in my opinion.  It is designed to keep the exceptional gifts each of us has buried.  It is more about control that it is about concern.

I am not athletic, oh not even close!  The only "sport" that I am even remotely good at is bicycling and I am never going to compete in Tour de France. Ever!  I was that kid that was always chosen last, goodness no one ever wanted me on their team, it was the kiss of death.  Did my feelings get hurt, sure... when I was younger and didn't really understand.  As I got older and was still always the last one chosen, after trying numerous sports and realizing it wasn't them it really was me, I stopped trying to be athletic.  It isn't me.

Bowling equaled my coach being injured, and me never bowling above 120 (with bumpers). Basketball was a disaster that caused my poor feet and knees so much pain for no return, I can't even make a basket.  Cheerleading was a joke for my uncoordinated self.  Gymnastics, nope, that is not even funny.  I have an issue with depth perception, so any of those great sports involving balls flying at you - tennis, softball, racquetball, etc... count me out.  Been injured too many times to count.  Swimming... yeah, no... drowning is not my strong suit. Skiing, which every small child in Europe masters by 4, resulted in misplaced thumbs and damaged bones.

I am able to own it.  No one had to coddle me and tell everyone else to lower their skills to make me feel better.  I am blessed I was a kid when it was still okay to fail.  When everyone did not have to be the same all the time.

I might not have those skills, but because I don't, and because I tried and failed I also found things that I am good at.

I love art.  I can paint, it's not my favorite creative outlet, but I am fairly good at it.  I knit, sew, crochet, spin yarns. I am good at woodworking.  I can create beautiful treasures with those skills.  Am I the best in the world at it?  No way!  I marvel at the men and women that seem to be masters, but it gives me something to shoot for.

I can garden, I can cook, I can make my own soaps and so many other things.  I excel at domestic arts.  And I love it!

I was allowed to excel at what was important to me.  I had people do for me like my grand baby's coach was doing for her.  I was taught the basics, I was made to try them and to do my best, I was encouraged and supported.  And I was never made to feel like a failure, but I was able to realize on my own what my strengths and weaknesses are.

I am grateful that I was grown before we stopped allowing our children to fail.  I am grateful that I wasn't part of this huge social experiment that has created at least one if not two generations that do not have the ability to know what makes them special, that drive to succeed and the ownership that is instilled.  The pride in your own successes, the lessons learned from your failures and the ability to be a stronger, more compassionate person because of it.

Competition is good for the human spirit.  It causes drive.  Whether it is in sports, academics, career, personal growth, economics.  It's good.  It's good to fail. It simply teaches you another way to succeed.

Watching those coaches last night... I couldn't help but wonder is the tide turning again?  There were about 75 young girls from about 4 - 11 all learning skills. Girls whose parents were paying $135 for eight weeks for their children to learn.  Being judged and guided to be better.  Forced to learn and push themselves to grow.  Are we as a nation finally realizing that we are not all the same?  Are we getting tired of mediocrity?

I hope so, I hope that the days of herd ball are behind us... I pray that we are on the cusp of a new revolution.  A revolution that leads us to celebrate success to embrace it, and to learn from failure.  To finally realize once again, that we are all different and it was those differences that for generations led us to be a leader in the world.  Celebrating and encouraging each person to embrace their strengths and not their weaknesses is what allows great things to happen.

I am tired of mediocrity.  I am tired of OK being good enough.  I am tired of lazy and accepting of the way it is... I am ready for a revolution, one that will make us a proud, strong, compassionate, caring, deserving nation once again!