Back in November, Rhonda Rousey lost her match in bantamweight mixed martial arts. Why should you care? I don't follow mixed martial arts either, but what she said in an interview afterward is significant for us as parents. She had never lost a match up to that point and didn't know how to handle it. She said she didn't know who she was anymore. She thought no one would care about her unless she won.
What happened to Rhonda? She confused performance and identity. Her performance had become her identity. So what does this mean for us as parents? As we talk to our children we need to be aware of the difference between who we are and what we do. What we do, our performance, is composed of actions. Who we are, our identity, is composed of our values.
When we are aware of this, it's easy to understand the difference. Listen for signs of confusion; signs that your children think their actions compose their identity. Talk with your children about your own values and who you are.
Rhonda forgot about the other portions of her life, the parts that were not mixed martial arts. She had friends and a career before MMA came into her life and became more important than anything else. Most of those other aspects of her life were still present. They had just faded into her background.
Is someone stealing the identity of your children by teaching them that they are only as good as the last win? Is some league vacuuming them in and controlling your family schedule? Is some dance company running your life? If you and your children are enjoying it and able to remember who you are, then all is well. Just be careful to stay on top of it. Are you compromising your values, or do these activities allow you to express who you are?
Blessings on your parenting,
Tim Miesner, Principal