Spoiler Alert: I don’t actually like watching my kid cry.
“I went into FitTown BINGO so excited this year. I’ve played it for years, but this was the first time that my very own FitKid wanted to play alongside me. She eagerly grabbed her FitKids BINGO card, hung it on the whiteboard and quickly started crossing off boxes.
Now if you know my kid, you know she doesn’t like to be bad at things. It’s not so much competitiveness, but more a lack of confidence and fear of disappointment. Being a mom, I want my kid to believe in herself. So about a week in, I recommended knocking out the “2 minute hangman challenge”. This would mean she’d need to accumulate 2 total minutes hanging from the bar. She looked at me wide eyed and said “No, I CAN’T do that”. I said, “well let’s see if you can!” And we went to the bar.
I was trying to be encouraging but (upon reflection), I was overbearing. Her first hang was about 5-10 seconds and when she said that her hands hurt, I responded with “no they don’t!” She burst into tears. Not my proudest mom moment. I didn’t make her finish the 2 minutes, and instead hugged her and told her we could try again whenever she felt ready.
Fast forward to last week… the final week of BINGO. She had one more square to knock off, and I’m sure you can guess which one it was.
After I finished coaching on a Saturday, she told me she was going to knock off that square (and showed me her muscles to prove it). I was nervous. I didn’t want her to feel defeated again.
This time, I told her to let me know whenever she needed a break and I’d help her down. I told her that it doesn’t matter how long it takes to accumulate those 2 total minutes, I’d be there with her until she finished.
When she hopped up on the bar, she was different than the first time. She was speaking truth into herself. She said “I can do this!” and “I am strong!”. We took lots of breaks, and she pretty much raided the chalk bucket after every 15 second hang. But she did it, and I could see how proud she was.
I don’t like watching my kid cry, or seeing her be uncomfortable. But BINGO showed me that even the seemingly “small” defeats can grow us. I’m glad she failed the first time (and that I had a mom failure, too), because we were both different the second time around.
The first time she was hanging there for me, and the second time she was hanging there for herself.
The first time she said she couldn’t do it, and the second time she said she was going to do it.
The first time she only obliged to make me proud, and the second time she chose to do the hard thing to make HERSELF proud.
It was a reminder to me that I need to make a point to do hard things. We encourage our kids to do the uncomfortable thing, because it grows them. But once we become adults, how often do we purposefully choose to challenge ourselves? How many times do we fail, and then choose to try again?
BINGO challenged me as a mom, and reminded me to actively choose to challenge myself.