Give me 100 push ups!

Last weekend my two boys (8 and 10) were part of a martial arts exhibition that left me speechless. Since September they have been training to perform an intensely rigorous calisthenics routine including an absurd number of consecutive jumping jacks, push ups (regular push ups, knuckle push ups, finger tip push ups) mountain climbers, burpees, squats, squat thrusts, etc. followed by a series of intense and exquisitely executed martial arts combinations with a partner. They did all of this as a group – on time and in unison – so there was no room for slacking. I was worried about this all year. The Master of the dojo has a military style of coaching, quite opposite my parenting style. As my 8 year old told me sounding proud- "mom- he really yells at us – a lot!” My son wasn't upset. The Master called them out when he thought they were the weakest link, and he had what seemed to me to be unreasonably high expectations of a young child. This particular child is amazing, but seemingly not "tough", and has the tendency to experience himself as a more vulnerable creature on this planet. This experience pushed him physically and mentally. It made him feel resilient, strong and powerful. My mindful, nurturing parenting style has helped him develop into a creative, wise and extremely compassionate being, and this performance left him feeling “tough”. And for a variety of reasons, that's what he needs, right now. I said to one of my wellness advisory clients this week "Don't repeat the same behavior and expect a different result". In hindsight I see that my son needed this different formula to cultivate a different energy in him as he navigates other challenges in his life. How do you need to change it up to cultivate the energy that you need in your life? Boot camp? Yoga? Different food? Therapeutic Touch? Change the recipe and expect a different flavor.

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