“He will never miss a chance to ‘Tebow’ toward the camera, will he?”
In 2011, I sarcastically scoffed at then-Denver Broncos quarterback, Tim Tebow, kneeling with fist to forehead, after throwing a game-winning touchdown pass.
At that time, I dismissed Tebow as a glory-hound – a guy whose larger-than-life, holier-than-thou public persona dwarfed his athletic ability.
I don’t feel that way anymore.
Fast forward and now Tebow has moved on to a new endeavor – baseball – and I am becoming a fan.
On Monday, as news of the former Heisman Trophy winner reporting to New York’s Mets Spring Training surfaced, I found myself rooting for him.
I’m a baseball nut, but truthfully, I could care less about Tebow’s ability on the ball diamond.
I’ve evolved into Tebow fan because I want my kids to see guys like him persist when others might call them naive. And, I want my children to understand the difference between the two.
The distinction between being naive and being persistent, to me, lies in having self-awareness.
By most reports, Tebow will never swing a bat in a Major League game. For that reason, some might say that his baseball experiment is naive – walking blindly toward a goal that is unreachable.
To me, though, Tebow is not naive, he’s persistent – distinguished by the fact that he is comfortable with the most likely, seemingly unsuccessful outcome.
During his opening press conference, Tebow displayed such self-awareness in saying, “People will say, ‘What if you fail? What if you don’t make it?’ Guess what? I don’t have to live with regret. I did everything I could. I pushed it. And I would rather be someone who can live with peace and no regret than being so scared I didn’t make the effort.”
Tim Tebow shows a level of self-awareness that appropriately confines, without completely suppressing, his otherwise boundless ambitions.
I want my kids to do the same, but I am unsure how to do it.
How do I help my children develop into passion-filled, yet self-aware young people?
A piece by Erica Patino provides me with some tips – 5 Ways to Help Your Grade-Schooler Gain Self-Awareness.
Parents of young children should:
- Acknowledge the issues.
- Look at the big picture.
- Don’t let weaknesses be a taboo topic.
- Nurture your child’s passions.
- Let your child try new things.
I’ve got #1 and #4 covered – the others, not so much.
I’m great at getting things done but not so great at seeing the forest from the tree-house of parenting.
Our busy schedules – getting to soccer, making a solid dinner, getting the laundry done – drive a short-term, “get-through-today” mentality that I’m not entirely proud of.
For me, these tips are grounded in patience, honesty and independence – and I need to work on all three.
For tweens and teens, Amanda Morin suggests the following tips for instilling self-awareness:
- Encourage your child to speak openly about his issues.
- Point out the positives.
- Foster a balanced perspective.
- Discourage comparisons.
- Considering working with a professional.
- Encourage your child to be a member of a team.
- Provide opportunities for independence.
The biggest difference between the grade-school and tweens list is the acknowledged importance of non-parental influences on our kids’ self-awareness – whether those influencers be teammates, classmates or licensed professionals.
Two aspect of the list terrify me: (1) the power of influences other than mine, and (2) that I will have to step back for my kids to move forward.
Though scary, the tips are logical. After all, a self-aware teen would seem to require some independence and private introspection.
But, as fearful as I am of the having teenagers, I’m committed to raising passion-following kids. I’ll do what it takes to raise children with lofty dreams and their own, personal idea of what success looks like. Their aspirations will be anchored by a tuned-in sense of self.
I plan to transform my current, blissful parenting naivety into persistence though a clear self-awareness that my top priority is raising passion-filled, contributing young people.
Just like Tim Tebow, my batting average thus far is not worthy of a roster spot with the big club. I am, though, in the game with a clear picture of what success means to me.
That makes me a persistent parent.
My persistence will help my kids become unafraid but careful, inspired but grounded and focused but fun.
My kids will be persistent, not naive – set to live with no regrets, just like Tim Tebow.