The Ultimate Goal

You've heard a lot about swimming these days. Sorry. Somebody warned me that if I put J on the swim team, it would take over my life. Sadly, she was utterly, completely, and totally correct, dang it. But it's been an interesting experience, joining this whole swim culture. Oh, and believe me, there is definitely a swim culture, complete with cliques, competitions within the team, and varying degrees of "pool moms". I suppose those kinds of things just happen generally when you get a bunch of people together for an activity. The moms are particularly interesting. And they are so varied in their approach to this swim team thing, it makes me ask the question: What is our ultimate goal? These moms have lots of different goals for their kids in respect to swimming. Like I said, some moms are pushing for the Olympics (seriously!), some are pushing for thier kids to have something they are good at and can identify with, and some are just hoping their kids will learn enough so they won't drown. It makes me think that this swimming model be extrapolated into life: Some parents want their kids to be at the highest tier of success, some parents just want their kids to be happy, involved, and satisfied with the best they can do, and some of us are just hoping our kids won't drown. As parents, what should our ultimate goal be with our children? I knew one woman who said that her goal was not that all her kids will be happy. That's too easy, she thought. Her ultimate goal was that her kids will all be independent and confident enough to handle whatever life threw at them. A noble goal, to be sure, but I thought she dismissed the happiness thing just a little too fast. But, then again, maybe happiness is overrated? So, what is your ultimate goal with your children? And maybe goals change along the way, too. Maybe there are some days that your goals are as high as the moon. And then there are days when we all just hope we can keep our heads above water, that keeping afloat is pretty much all we can manage. And that's ok, too.


Blogger Em said...

There is a couple in my ward who had a daughter in gymnastics for years, and she got really good at it. When her coach tried to push the parents into getting her on the hard,fastball, competitive track (a la olympics) - they turned it down without a second thought.

The reasoning they gave was that they'd put their daughter in gymnastics so that she could develop self-confidence (particularly about her body... as she had a very "muscular" (read - almost man-ish) build. As soon as they let gymnastics become the thing around which the rest of her life centered, then she could lose all that, because then it becomes about winning and being the best. And if you have to be the best to be good enough, you're setting yourself up for disappointment, aren't you?

I don't think there is anything wrong with all the extracurricular activities that kids can get involved with. It's just important (and hard) to teach them to keep things in perspective. Our ultimate goal is not to be the best (fill in the blank) in all the world. Our ultimate goal is to be the well-rounded person God wants us to be, to be non-egocentric, and to live up to our eternal potential. Getting wrapped up in competitions and such can make it hard to keep that perspective (especially for moms!)

6/26/2006 04:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Mel said...

Before I had baby #3, I decided I would do things differently. I wanted him to be smart, athletic, early developer & stuff. Well, sometimes life throws you a curve ball. He was born with multiple disablities. Suddenly, I was praying that he would survive. Now, I just hope for progress. I've learned that what really matters is that he is happy. He's happy and that's enough for now!

6/26/2006 04:43:00 PM  
Blogger Tracy M said...

You know, now that I have three monkeys, I am more keenly aware of how little I actually have to do with who they are and what their drives are in life. Don't get me wrong, as their mother I take my responsibility towards them totally to my heart, but... The fact is, they are ALL already such strong, different personalities, what works for one, one day, is out the window the next.

My goals for my children are for each of them to find their purpose on this earth, whatever or wherever that may take them. One of my boys is super-competitive, and nothing I can do changes that, and the other couldn't care less about winning... not in my control, in either case. I just have find how best to direct each of them within the boundaries of who they already are. Some happiness would be good. Living close to mom when they grown up would also be nice. ;)

And most days lately, just keeping our noses above water is a good day!

6/26/2006 05:29:00 PM  

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