Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I Wish I Could Do That!

I watched this fun clip from a documentary called Family Antics. It shows a father, son, and their dogs doing various acrobatic tricks.

While watching it, I thought.. I wish I could do that. Then I thought, Wait. COULD I do that?

Well, no. Of course not. Obviously. And I know it.

But the real question is could I have been able to do it if I had spent hours, weeks, months, and years practicing? What if I took classes, had coaches, and dedicated most of my life to it? Then could I have done it?

My friend and I talked about the whole issue of saying I can't do it, or I could never do that.

I hear it often from other parents when we tell them we homeschool Jack. They think it's awesome what we're doing, but they could never do it themselves. It frustrates me, because I feel they COULD do it.

Then I was a hypocrite because I told my friend I'd love to have a garden, but I can't do it. I realized my mistake, and changed it to the fact that I want to have a garden, but I don't want it enough to put the needed time and work into it.

I think in many cases, if you really want to achieve something you can.

However, I think we lose motivation when something is too hard for us, or if we don't have enough initial success.

As a child, I couldn't even do a basic cart wheel. I'm pretty sure I tried several times, because I remember it seeming extremely important to master this skill. I never did master it. If I couldn't do something as simple as a cartwheel, it would be hard to have the belief that with enough work, I could manage to do impressive multiple flips in the backyard. Now if I had been given massive amounts of attention and lessons, maybe I would have managed to succeed at gymnastics. But because I couldn't even manage the simple stuff, it wasn't something I desired.

Last summer, we planted green bean seeds. I think we ended up with a total of about 4 beans. Prior to that, we've had other unsuccessful gardening adventures. My motivation for gardening is lacking now. But if last year, our green bean plants had yielded more beans, I'd probably be excited about trying again.

Now I'm dealing with the dieting issue. The last time I lost a LOT of weight, it happened really fast and easily. The pounds just dropped off. I mean I did have to put a lot of work into it...calorie counting, calorie restrictions, and long walks. But the hard work paid off. It was hard to say no to all the yummy food surrounding me, but not too hard, because I enjoyed seeing the scale numbers get lower and lower.

A few weeks ago, I tried the strict dieting again. It lasted about three days, and then I resorted to cheating here, there, and everywhere. Why? Because with all the hard dieting work, nothing came off. There's that feeling of what's the point?

It's much easier to stay motivated, work hard, and make sacrifices when you see results.

As for homeschooling....I'm thinking that maybe these parents who doubt their abilities had negative experiences in their past. Maybe they tried to teach their child something, and it didn't work out.

I can't say every time I work with Jack, it's a happy learning moment. There are times where he looks totally bored. There are times where I don't have the patience. But I have had many successful learning moments with him. Some of them occurred when he was a toddler, so that gave me faith in the idea that children CAN learn at home with their parents rather than going to school. If I hadn't had those successful moments, I may have thought. I can't do this, and then shipped him off to school.

Now that I have this realization about motivation and ability, I'm not sure how to apply it to my life.

Does it mean we should ignore the setbacks, and chase after our goals...even if they initially seem impossible?

Maybe.

It could be like that engine. I think I can. I think I can.

But when do you stop and say. Uh...never mind. I really CAN'T.

And when do you stop and say. Uh....well, I could probably. But it would be extremely hard work, and I don't want it enough to endure all that.