Raise your hand if you want to go back to middle school. Come on…who is up for the challenge?
Today was a hard day for my Grace, who is 13. When she told me about her day, I was willing to do whatever it would take to make it better. She wanted Thai food. Pad Thai with shrimp to be exact. Middle school girls have strange ways to heal the heart. I could not say no.
Grace, my middle child, has a tender spirit. She likes to feel successful, and won’t try things unless she knows she will succeed. She hates competition. She does not enjoy the spotlight.
Today, she had to compete for cross-country running.
It didn’t go so well and she will be the first to admit it. Her spirit took a hit. She mentioned words like “failure, looser, slow and painful.”
At the end of the day though, she was trying to find redeeming values of running. “I am getting in shape. I am improving my time. I finished the race.”
Grace is very good at a lot of things. She can rock any musical instrument she puts her hands on. Her jazz teacher brags on her constantly for her skills. She can sing, she gets great grades, she makes others laugh, she encourages, she has lots of great friends, she is very creative, but cross country running, simply is not her best sport. The poor girl gets hives when she runs…for real.
I asked Grace what keeps her going. She simply said, “I don’t want to quit!”
I was proud of her answer. She gave me permission to blog about her story tonight. I told her I was proud of the fact that she would keep trying. Honestly, as I see how difficult life is for a middle school kid, and I hear all the stories of what they have to deal with, as I see the insecurities, the tears and the moments of awkwardness, as I remember my own journey of sock hops and braces, I’m amazed that she is willing to endure this race. I know there is some deep spiritual lesson in all of this, but tonight we are just eating Pad Thai with shrimp.
I asked her what she wanted to tell all the parents out there and how they can help their kids when they aren’t feeling successful. I said, “Grace, what do you want me to pass on to all these parents?”
She said, “TELL THEM NOT TO LET THEIR KIDS JOIN CROSS COUNTRY.”
So there it is, out of the mouth of a 13 year old, who is feeling better tonight with a little Pad Thai and shrimp…..but she will continue to run.
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