Thursday, March 24, 2011

The little engine that could

A little railroad engine was employed about a station yard for such work as it was built for, pulling a few cars on and off the switches. One morning it was waiting for the next call when a long train of freight-cars asked a large engine in the roundhouse to take it over the hill "I can't; that is too much a pull for me," said the great engine built for hard work. Then the train asked another engine, and another, only to hear excuses and be refused. In desperation, the train asked the little switch engine to draw it up the grade and down on the other side. "I think I can," puffed the little locomotive, and put itself in front of the great heavy train. As it went on the little engine kept bravely puffing faster and faster, "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can."
As it neared the top of the grade, which had so discouraged the larger engines, it went more slowly. However, it still kept saying, "I--think--I--can, I--think--I--can." It reached the top by drawing on bravery and then went on down the grade, congratulating itself by saying, "I thought I could, I thought I could."

Sometimes you have to have a little optimism in life.  We all have those days when you wake up, peek out at the world and want to weep, pull the covers over your head and scream: "Hell No!"  However when you are a working parent with a gazillion responsibilities that is really not an option.  I had a morning like that.  Seth had us up with a nightmare at 3am, the alarm went off at 5:50am, i lay there for 5 mins thinking:  "I cant get out of this bed...."  Then i got out of bed, i resisted the urge to throw my pillow at my cat, just because he was flaunting his stretched out sleep on the floor and dragged my sorry self to the shower.

So here i am, a couple of hours later reminding myself that i dont have to like today but i certainly have to survive it.  Just put one foot in front of the next one, and so on.

Optimism has a special place in my hear this week because of my son.  I was reminded that bravery comes in different guises and that we can help others to be brave through our small actions.  This is the story of Gabriel and soccer.  Gabby is lean, strong, runs like the wind and swims like a fish.  But he hates soccer.  He used to love it, thanks to years of soccer stars that i dutifully paid for at creche.  But then he had one bad incident.  He went to a birthday party, soccer was played, he hit the ball with his hand, his team got a penalty.  He felt crap.  He started to hate soccer. Just like that.  Confidence zero.  When i spoke to him, he said: "I am no good at soccer, Mom...."  My poor child. 

On Monday i fetch him from school and he announces with conviction that he wont be going to school on Thursday.  As you can imagine, i did a double take and asked why?  The reason its the interhouse soccer games and he does not want to play.  To be honest for a split second my heart broke and i just wanted to keep him home, feed him sweets, let him watch TV and cocoon him in maternal love and affection.  But then the more sane more part of me kicked in and I said No.  But i also knew that he needed a bit more then that. 

And thats where wonder dad comes in..... Hurray!

When Jason got home i cornered him in the kitchen and said:  "Tonight you are teaching your son to play soccer, properly!"  What a star, he got hold of Gabby after supper and bath, set up a soccer field on my coffee table using my coasters and other objects, explained all the rules, found a soccer match on TV and went through the rules using examples from play.  By the end of the evening we had a much happier little boy.  Last night he got out cones and a ball and practised dribbling with him.  I bought him new soccer shoes and YAY!

He played yesterday at school with his friends and came back happy as can be.  He was glowing, telling me how he remembered what Dad told him and did fine.  I almost had a teary mom moment in the car.  Today he is dressed up, happy as can be off to his match, no anxiety....

This whole thing really got me thinking about how we have to manage the impact of the experiences that our children have, even when we cant manage the experiences.  How we have to put things into perspective for them, pick them up and dust them off, remind them how much we believe in them.  Because sometimes we all need someone to say:  "I love you kid, no go and shine!!"  And shining does not mean scoring a goal.  It means getting to the field, goofing around with your friends, enjoying the day, coming home.  I also realised how grateful i am for the man that i chose to be Dad to my kids.  I love him most when i can see how much he adores the kids and how he is willing to manifest that love in the time, commitment and input that he puts into their lives.

So if Gabby can go and play soccer........ I can get through this week.


1 comment:

  1. I really enjoyed reading that, thanks for sharing!