We went to the pool for the final time yesterday. It wasn’t really that it was the greatest day for it–really a little cool–but it was the last opportunity of the season, and so we went.
~K~ was happy about it, but ~D~ was dragging his heals, mainly because he was dreading what he had to do at the pool.
~D~ has not been one to push himself in the pool. He doesn’t like getting his face wet, he doesn’t like getting water in his eyes, so he was fine as long as he could touch and he didn’t have to go under.
We had found that computer time was a pretty strong motivation for doing things at the pool. With the promise of extra computer time, he had been pretty willing to dunk under the water holding his nose. This had almost become a non issue, providing that there was some incentive to do it.
Earlier in the season, I had set as a goal that he needed to go down the slide before the end of the season. I would be at the bottom to catch him, but he would probably go under and get his face wet. Up until now, he had avoided this challenge. One of my strong motivations for getting to the pool was to get him down the slide.
Finally, with much pushing on my part every step of the way (“Step up onto the ladder…Take another step up…Take another step…ok, now sit down at the top”, etc.) he finally came down.
I caught him and he didn’t even go under, but instead of being proud of himself, or relieved to be done, he was angry at me for forcing him to do it.
With this development and at other times, the question that I ask myself is: Am I pushing too hard?
There is sometimes such a strong resistance to a task, that I find myself pushing harder than I’d like to have to push. I don’t want my boys to back down from a challenge. I don’t want them to be wimpy and soft. But I don’t want to push so hard as to crush their spirits, either.
It is a fine balance to walk, sometimes my gentle nudging seems to be too much, other times my forceful pushing is barely enough. Sometimes I feel like I’m locked in a force of wills where the harder I push, the harder they dig in.
I’ve got to check myself–and ask why am I pushing so hard:
- Is it because of my pride?
- Am I just determined to win? or is it for their good?
- Am I doing this out of love?
This time, I didn’t think I was pushing too hard. I got a chance to talk to ~D~ about it later, once he had cool down. I shared times and situations where I was afraid and yet I still needed to follow through and do it. I hope it sunk in.
In these situations, I always go back to my relationship with the Father. There are times that I am angry with Him, and I have to remember that He pushes me because He loves me.