The Swim Bike Family headed to the lake yesterday for a little morning of fun, open water swimming and wetsuit testing, to be followed by lunch and a stop by Cabela’s (a/k/a where all things are Southern, fishing, hunting and camouflage). The Expert has decided that they (and I mean they) are going camping; so there were camping supplies to procure. As for me, I camp best at a Doubletree. The hotel, not two actual trees.
Wetsuits were tested, and the kids were worn out, so we headed over to Cabela’s before heading home.
The boy child, James, was allowed to purchase a book called, “How to Survive Anything,” which we thought was right up his alley. I will spoil my children rotten with books–that is pretty much one thing I will never ever say “no” to. Within reason. Books are amazing, and the little dude loves facts (“Hey Mom, did you know that sharks have rows of teeth and that…”). The facts are never-ending, and he memorizes them, lock-tight into his sponge-like mind.
Likewise, I really thought James was going to love “How to Survive Anything,” but about 15 minutes down the road, I realized that the Cabela’s version of the book may have been a little tooooo much “Survival of Anything.”
Bear Attacks. Tsunamis. Avalanches. I should have known better. It was a big book, and it was actually a survival guide-duh. It probably had a disclaimer on it.
Knowing James and how sponge-like he is, and knowing the facts that were ping-ponging in his amazing, creative little mind—I should have known he would be upset. [Another mom fail. Add it to the list!]
And yes, pretty quickly, he was visibly upset by the book. The bears and avalanches were all too real, all too close in his mind. He was upset to the point where he didn’t want the book in the same room.
So I told the Expert, “Just take it back when you return whatever it is you are returning.” He nodded, and took it out to the car—out of the house. We discussed how James need not worry about bears or tsunamis or avalanches (I mean, you don’t… until you do… but that’s neither here nor there…). He was good. (Mental note: never, ever ever watch “The Revenant” around the kid. Ever.)
figured hoped prayed that was the end of it.
But… this morning, I heard the pitter-patter-jump-jump of energetic boy feet come hopping into the room (anyone with an almost-nine year old probably knows exactly what pitter-patter-jump jump is).
I was standing by the bed, sorting through my workout clothes, and James said, “Uh, Mom. Where’s that book? The survive anything book.”
I looked at him. His eyes were twinkling.
“Dad is taking that book back to the store,” I said.
“Um, I need it. I want to learn about to survive anything,” and he jumped in place, excitedly.
“But you were scared of the stuff in the book, bud,” I said. I paused, in case he forgot. “Remember? Yesterday?”
“Yes, I know!” he said, “But I think it’s time that I learn to face my fears!” He jumped, and off he went, pitter-patter, jump jump…
So he headed into the world today, anything survival guide in hand (and ready to scare YOUR children at school—sorry)… but ready to face his fears.
He was happy.
In the car, he (without fuss) picked the song he wanted to listen to. He and his sister each get one song each morning to listen to–it’s a 10 minute car trip–works out well, everyone is happy–usually. We jam Taylor Swift mostly for the girl, but he is always a wide pendulum swing–never can tell what he will pick, or if he will play along and pick anything at all.
After thinking a bit, I realized that recently James has been awfully (and somewhat uncharacteristically) fearless.
And mind you, that’s not a dig at him. He and I are just the historically “careful” duo out of the family. We assess a situation and then move forward. Of course, we too may be fearless–once properly armed with all the pertinent information and safety gear.
So I think that the newfound fearlessness has come from a few recent developments. Over the last two years, we have worked really hard on tutoring, baseball practice, and a few other areas where James has been feeling “down” and challenged. I have been sort of unofficially tiger-not-tiger-mom relentless, though I haven’t been hard on him. But I have been thorough. Meaning, that he has been presented with all the tools–everything has been put out in the open for his potential success in baseball, school and life. [As for baseball, if, at the end of the season after giving it our all, if he wants he can quit. But he can’t quit school. Sorry.]
Simply, I made it my mission for him to know we supported him and wanted him to succeed–yes, even on his terms–in sports, in school, in life, in whatever (he has happened to choose baseball, but it doesn’t have to be that.) It was my mission that he would know in ten years, when he was released into the wild world, that we had never given up on him. (And of course, the same goes for our daughter.)
Sounds easy enough, right?
Well, when he wasn’t “liking” baseball, I intuited that it because he “wasn’t good at it” (his words). Once we got him working a little harder, learning the game a little more, suddenly… he was “better” (his words), and he started to enjoy it. We could literally see him turn the corner.
He was happy.
Same with math in school. Once he became more proficient (through hours of work and tutoring), he started to do better and enjoy (well, tolerate) math.
He was happy-er.
I realized how true this same theory is for adults, as well.
We can be all truly FEARLESS in some circumstances–but then in other scenarios, we just cower and wilt, and… well, who knows what else.
Our son has thrived since he has been presented with the following:
Tools to Succeed
With these things in play, he has begun to feel more confident, stronger, capable—and ready to face his fears (his words).
I think we can all remember a time in our lives when we have been paralyzed by fear. For me, my first open water swim was just that fear. I have been scared of many (many) things since then.
As I have gone along in triathlon, I have gained a sense of confidence… it’s not easy, it hasn’t been instantaneous. But for the most part, I feel like triathlon is a place of safety, acceptance, and through many of my friends and groups–a place with all the tools to help me succeed.
Of course, these are not absolutes. There are always people or places that won’t be safe or accepting–but for the most part, when I am in a place where I feel these things… I am braver. More capable. Fearless, in my own way.
Since my post yesterday, I have received several emails and comments about fear. I didn’t realize how many were actually about fear until I read a few in succession.
- I want to make the changes, like you have, but I am TERRIFIED.
- I desperately want to do a triathlon, but I am so freaked out.
- I NEED to sign up for nutrition help, but I am afraid.
- I have to quit drinking for myself, for my family, but I am so scared.
I believe our son is thriving because he feels safe, accepted and now believes in the the tools he has. He was ready to “survive anything” leaving for school today, because he’s in a safe, accepting place–and armed with a book of facts.
Here’s the thing about triathlon and nutrition and quitting drinking–or whatever you are “afraid” of:
If you are in a place of safety, acceptance and armed with the tools–there is nothing to fear.
And if you are not in a place like this? Well, then you should find one. And if you don’t know where, keep reading!
(Superhero Costume anyone? ^^^)
Triathlon? Come to our Tri-Fecta group on Facebook. I don’t tolerate any shit. I mean, none. You will be safe and accepted. You will get to know so many people and have access to resources and tools. Are you a new triathlete? Get my free eBook. It’s a small tool, but one that will give you some courage and information on your journey. You are safe and you are accepted here, right now with SBM. Now, you have a tool. We have coaching. We have resources. We are here.
Addiction? I am not a counselor. I am not a specialist, but I am someone who has been there. And I am here for you. You have a safe place to call/email, and I accept you, right now, just as you are. You can contact me, and I will be here for you. I have friend who has said I could share her info as well–she has also been there. So you have TWO people, right here and right now, who are here for you. (And after this post, I bet I will have more people for you). WE are here. And we will help you find the tools and resources you need to get help.
Nutrition? Weight loss? Health? Oh my goodness. We have the safest and most accepting place ever… but the tools! Oh, the tools are there. The tools are there if you are ready to change, to make the best of your life. To thrive, not just survive. We are here along one of the toughest journeys that any woman will take. I got you. We got you.
Look, I am not pretending to save anyone.
I also don’t have all the answers. I know that. So, please don’t comment bullshit like that.
I am saying that I have been there. I have been terrified to swim. I have been terrified to admit that I needed help. Living in a place of fear over the mere food I ate (because it was damaging me, and how in the hell could I help myself with something that I was forced to NEED every day? And that very thing was also killing me??!)
I have been stuck, unable to change, unable to know what to do–for decades. I have dealt with pain and addiction and things that you wouldn’t believe… and through pushing through it, I have learned what helps unstick the stuck, and break through the fear.
We have watched it unfold with our son. Not with any magic. But just helping him the ways that we have learned are fundamental for change.
Truly, how to survive anything might just boil down to these three things:
Overly simplistic? Maybe.
But what if it really is that simple?
And maybe we have been over-complicating, over-thinking, and therefore, over-fearing everything for way too long?
Maybe we need less thinking? More doing?
It’s worth a try.
So let’s start here. We can do it. Together. We got your back.
I say “we,” because while I put up my contact form, I am surrounded by a HUGE “Army” of people who are right here too–ready to support you, in whatever part of your journey you need.
Triathlon. Support. Nutrition. Friendship.
Come join us–we’ll be here, for whatever you need.
For the Spirit, that God gave us does not make us timid —
but gives us power, love and self-discipline.
I Timothy 1:7