We can do it if we try

How do you teach your children perseverance?

Disney has the ability to entertain and to teach our children great lessons. Just moments ago I heard Jungle Junction teaching my kids this message:

“We can do it. We can do it if we try. If it doesn’t work the first time we’ll try twice as hard the next time. Cause we can do it if we try.”

The truth is, I don’t agree 100%.

About 10 years ago I was watching a day time talk show of a celebrity interview (I can’t remember who the celebrity was) and she said this:

“When I’m trying really hard to do something and it’s just not working I stop trying. I take that obstruction to be a sign from the universe that it just wasn’t meant to be”.

That statement hit a home run with me. So much so, that now if I’m trying to open a jar of pickles and it just won’t open…I take that as a sign to not eat pickles.
I’m not saying I’ve become a complete non-committal flake. I’m saying  that sometimes some things just weren’t meant to be. Life shouldn’t be so hard and so frustrating. And honestly, I really don’t need to eat pickles.

The obvious problem now is how do I teach my children the ideals of perseverance when I don’t believe in them in all situations myself?
I’ve found myself teaching my son to stop trying something when he gets frustrated. I know that I’m trying to teach him to not allow himself to get so frustrated by taking a break. Nothing is worth getting so frustrated over and we can control our emotions by removing the cantankerous variable.
However, I’m afraid that I’m not teaching him how to preservere enough. I’m afraid I’m raising a non-committal flake. I want my children to be hard workers that don’t give up. I want them to be successful and I know that success takes commitment. I want them to understand the difference between knowing what’s worth fighting for and what isn’t.

However, when they hit a bump on the road to success, how will they know if it’s a sign to choose a different direction? And how will they know if the bump is just a bump and they can keep going forward?

Or what if they’re in a relationship with someone and it’s not going so great. How will they know if that relationship is worth working on to keep it going?

What if they’re trying and trying and trying to be good at something and it’s just not happening. When will they know to stop trying so hard to be good at whatever it was and try something else instead?

Or what if they’re trying to make a sandwhich and they’d really like pickles but they can’t open the jar? Will they keep trying to open the jar even if it takes forever and the bread goes stale in the wait?

How do I teach my children which situations are worth fighting for and which situations are not?

side note: I’ve never purchased a jar of pickles. That was merely an example.

“Lots of Words” Wednesday

Credit: Desiree Eaglin

This past weekend, Mr. Eaglin and I went to Catalina Island. We explored the Island every day, all day. On our last morning on the Island, we walked over to Descanso beach.
On our walk over we saw this elderly couple up ahead. They walked very slow and the gentleman held his wife’s hand and urged her along. They stopped several times so that she could take a break and lean up against the railing. As we passed them, I said: “Good morning! It’s a beautiful day to be alive isn’t it?” They both smiled and replied yes.

I’m not sure why they walked over to the beach, it was a long way for me to walk, being 6 months pregnant and all and I can’t help but think it was a long way for the elderly woman to walk as well. Along the way, he pointed and showed her things. I sat and watched them, imagining what he was saying and what they were going to do for the rest of the day. They did walk down to the beach where the gentleman found a bench on the sand and led the way, holding her and guiding her along and helping her sit down.  They sat there, for quite a while. Watching the waves crash on the rocky shore and the boats pass by.

Seeing this couple stirred up so many emotions in me about my relationship with my husband. I pondered about the possibility that Mr. Eaglin and I too would one day be that elderly couple walking along the Catalina Island shore. I wondered if he would have to help me at that age, guiding the way and allowing me to lean on him. I wondered if he would have the patience for that.

Then I stopped thinking about our relationship and I started wondering about the elderly couple. I pondered what they were like when they were our age and if they knew what was up ahead for them. The failing health, the lack of strength the need for help. I concluded that, that is precisely what love is. The commitment and the faith in the relationship and the person you married to take care of you, to stand by you and to support you for the rest of your life.

Perhaps that trip down the shore on Catalina Island would be the elderly woman’s last hurrah. Last chance to see the waves crashing on the rocky beach. Last long walk breathing in the fresh sea air. I felt honored to have witnessed it. I felt honored to have had the chance to say good morning and remark that it was a beautiful day to be alive. Because it was.
It was a beautiful day to be alive.