Last week I shared my new-found “like” of running. Part of the inspiration to start was watching hubby train for a marathon. This past weekend he successfully ran the Hartford Marathon — finishing on two feet, without the aid of medical professionals!
While we were standing at the finish line watching all of the runners make that final push, Miles turned to me with his “Go, Daddy, Go!” sign and said,
“Did Daddy lose?”
Of course Daddy did not come in first (or even 101st), and we were still watching LOTS of runners cross the finish line before him. To a 7-year-old that meant he didn’t win.
I explained to him that, “No, Daddy did not lose. He may not be the first person to cross that line over there, but Daddy has worked really hard to prepare for this race. Not many people can say they have finished a marathon. Just crossing the finish line means that Daddy won.”
Kids see so many things in black-and-white, right-and-wrong, win-or-lose. It’s up to us to teach them (gently) that life doesn’t fit into neat little boxes — it’s messy and complicated. We need to show them that sometimes you are going to work really hard, but someone else is going to blow by you. That doesn’t mean that your hard work means any less.
As competitive beings, it is sometimes hard to live this. We get caught up in the race to be perfect — for our kids, for our work, for society. Accomplishments are not good enough unless they are at the top, and rarely does one always find themselves there. We need to celebrate the effort, maybe not by handing out a medal to everyone, but by teaching our kids and ourselves to accept our best as good enough.
Our blogger, Elise, is running her first 5K this weekend. She admitted to the rest of us that she was a bit nervous about finishing at the end of the pack and what others would see that as. Well, I wanted to help her along to finding her own victory in just crossing the finish line:
Elise, you are an inspiration to me and I know you are to your kids. It doesn’t matter what time you cross the finish line, what matters is you did it! The only people who lose are the ones who didn’t try in the first place. You are teaching your children an invaluable lesson: you are a first place Mommy, and that’s all that matters!
So CT Working Moms, my missive to you is to find the victory in the effort, and celebrate doing your best. Also, head over to our Facebook page and leave some love for Elise to help push her across the finish line!