Life Preparedness Kit
June 19, 2011 10 Comments
My kids started math camp this week. I know what you’re thinking, “what kind of person sends their kids to math camp?” But hear me out. Aside from the fact that my kids love it so far, it’s a great learning and growth opportunity for their mother and me, as well. You see, they normally attend a small, private school, the kind where everybody knows everybody and you always feel like your kids are safe. Well, this Math Enrichment Program (sounds a lot better than ‘math camp’, huh?) is not at their normal school. And to our surprise–and as it turns out fear– there are 800 students in this darn program. So, dropping our kids off at such a large school, with so many kids is a little nerve-racking. To say the least!
But let’s put aside my issues– I mean emotions– for a minute. The purpose of this post is to point out something that struck me as I was driving away after the first day of the program. I’d just left my kids and felt a bit uneasy. For them. Never had they been thrust into such a situation. What I might call a social overdose–meeting and having to fit in with a whole new group of kids–they seemed a bit overwhelmed. As I was driving, I could still see my daughter’s face when I hugged and kissed her goodbye. My hand was also still hurting, a result of my son not wanting to let go of the security blanket he sometimes calls “daddy”.
But I quickly got a hold of myself. Those who know me best know I can get a little emotional, especially about the two most important things in my life- my children. Like medicine, I told myself, they needed this. Learning to fit in and to quickly adapt to new situations is one of the most important skills a person can develop. Because I grew up an Army brat and had to do it all of the time, I take it for granted. But seeing my kids in this precariously foreign situation reminded me how difficult that growing process can be. And it got me thinking: what other things are critical to success in life. What else would I put in my kids’ “Life Preparedness Kit”. Here’s what I came up with:
- Learn to adapt to new situations- You will start at a new school one day. You will have a first day on the job (hopefully) several times. And if you are lucky, you’ll be in many situations where you are being introduced to a new group of friends. Learning and embracing the ability to adapt to these and other new situations is critical.
- Compete! – I grew up playing sports, so maybe that’s where it comes from. Or maybe it’s because my dad was (and still is) so adamant about giving your best at all times. Whatever the reason, I firmly believe that success in life is based on your ability and desire to compete. Not only with others in your life, but more importantly with yourself.
- Accept your warts- I’ll admit it. I’m still working on this one myself, mostly because I take Rule #2 way too seriously. But being comfortable in your own skin, accepting your imperfections as part of what makes you unique, is paramount to reaching for what you want in life without apologizing, something I call ‘The Audacity of Success‘.
- Accept responsibility for your future- I heard or read somewhere that happiness is a direct function of the amount of control one perceives he has over his life. Living by an understanding that we ultimately get what we’ve earned and deserve is an empowering feeling, and a requirement for success in life.
- Share your gifts- We are all blessed with abilities and talents that are uniquely ours. Discovering them is sometimes difficult. Owning and accepting them can be even harder. But possibly the most difficult part is sharing them with the world. But that is exactly what God (or the universe if you are more spiritual than you are religious) expects of us. Not sharing a gift that was given to us is akin to the pan handler whom you gave money for food wasting it on beer and cigarettes. We have been given our gifts with the expectation of using them in the right manner.