As I sit to write this letter, I am reminded of how blessed we are at Epiphany to share in the highest calling God gives, being a parent. You have that awesome responsibility and allow us to work with you to fulfill it. We never take that for granted do greatly appreciate it.
Right now we have the Winter Olympics in progress and I'm reminded of the story of Apollo Ohno. His is one of change and rededication through self-discipline. Below is an excerpt from an article on his preparation.
Back in 1997, Apolo Ohno was beginning to make a name for himself. At the tender age of 14, Ohno had already won gold at the 1997 U.S. Senior Championships, the youngest person to ever do so. Being a young teen and living away from his parents, however, he decided not to listen to his trainer in the year that followed, choosing "to eat pizza instead of complete required runs." His habits caught up with him, and in 1998, he failed to qualify for the Olympic team. It was a crippling defeat that led him to isolate himself in a cabin in Washington to contemplate his future. During this week of solitude, Ohno concluded that his failures stemmed from a lack of proper focus and dedication. Moving forward, he recognized that he needed to become more self-disciplined and attentive to his trainers' instruction if he was going to succeed in his sport.
The rest of his story is amazing. Ohno committed to an incredibly difficult training routine the next year, which led to wins in the 1999 Junior World Championship and the 2000-2001 World Cup. He then qualified for the 2002 Winter Olympics and won gold and silver in two events. Then, at the 2006 Winter Olympics, he won a gold medal in the 500-meter event and two bronze medals in other events.
- See more at: http://growingleaders.com/blog/grow-leaders-olympics/#sthash.zZ8LSNRi.dpuf
Parents, how do you go about raising children who will rebound as Apollo Ohno did from his failure? I think the first thing is to allow children to fail. What would have happened if this young skater's parents had not allowed him to compete for fear of failure? Or what if they had tried to "rig the system" to give him success?
It's easy to see how poor these choices are in the life of Apollo Ohno, because "hindsight is 20-20" and we know how his story turned out. What about your child? Do you allow him/her to experience failure and then help him/her grow from it? Do you "hover overhead" to protect from all possible problems? I know that can be a natural tendency of parents, but it can be deadly for our children. Unless they understand how the real world works they are not prepared for it.
Please understand, this is a growing experience; a five year old need not experience as much of the world as a fifteen year old. I find it helpful to draw a line from our children's ages at a given time to the time when they would turn 18. What would they need to know then? They need to be "ready to ship" at 18. Then I could assess whether they were on a time line that would be ready. If not, I'd need to speed up the process. Try that little experiment, and let me know what you see. I'd be eager to hear about it.
Again, thanks for the privilege of partnering with you as you help your child grow into the young man or young woman they will be in a few years.
In His Service,