My Son, the Athlete, Begins His College Search: How Wrestling has Taught Him Determination, Motivation, Tenacity, and Honor

College athlete
My son, an accomplished wrestler, begins his college search.

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I cannot believe these words are actually coming out of my mouth!  It seems like only yesterday he was born.  This is my baby boy…my baby.

It seems like only yesterday we were in this park, enjoying the simplest things in life.

 

 

My baby is not such a baby anymore.  He will always be my baby though!  Abe…that’s my baby.  For my kids, skipping college has never been an option.  College is viewed as a normal stop in their futures–rather, present for Sarah, my daughter.

 

Years ago, I began goal-setting with the kids, in relation to their close future and distant future.  Naturally, they came up with some silly ideas at first.  As time passed–or rather, flew!–, the ideas matured as the kids did.  In middle school, Abe found his passion:  wrestling.

He actually won several matches his first year.  I will never forget the first time he slammed a kid.  I had videoed him, and after watching the video maybe the 5th time, Abe said, “Now that’s John Cena style!”  For those of you who don’t know John Cena, he is a professional wrestler for the WWE.  This excited him so much that he fell in love with the sport!  We had only signed him up to help him in football.  This was in 7th grade.


As Abe entered the 8th grade, he began wrestling year round, wrestling Olympic styles, Freestyle and Greco, during the spring and eventually summer.  By his freshman year in high school, Abe was competing in national tournaments every summer, travelling to Pennsylvania and North Dakota.

tenacity, motivation, determination
From his freshman year in high school, Abe began wrestling in national tournaments every summer.

And each year before a season begins, he now sets his goal for that season.  His freshman year his goal was to go to state with his high school team.  He did!  That summer he worked so hard training with the nationals team, preparing for Fargo and preparing for the next school season.

Abe began to meet wrestlers from all over the state and the country and became friends with many.  The year before Abe began wrestling at our high school, we lost one of our own.  Matt Walters, an amazing athlete, student, friend, and son, was killed in an auto accident not too far from his home.  Our team honors Matt in many ways.  One is in a shirt that says, “Walk Like Walters.”

Honor
Abe honors fallen wrestler, Matt Walters, in Atlanta as he competes for the Southeast Regional title.

When I looked at Abe’s back and realized what he had on, I beamed with pride at the honor Abe showed in such a special place.  Matt never had this opportunity.  Abe takes his memories with him around the country.

Sophomore year Abe set a goal of placing at state; he placed 4th in the state, with a strong record.  This was not good enough for Abe.  He trained hard for nationals again and came home with a winning record…finally.

Junior year, his goal was to win state.

My baby was in the state finals!

Determination
Abe, walking out onto the mat of the Macon Coliseum, for the state finals.

He made it to the finals, but the title was not to be his this year.  He was unhappy for the loss.

Tenacity
Abe, on the podium, accepting the honor of state runner-up.

This was a blow for Abe.

Before he was all about wrestling in college. 

His tune changed.  Upset about failure, he considered giving up his dreams….just for a moment.  When I began making appointments for college visits for him, he returned back to normal, ready to fight again.  His training began almost instantly.  He watched the finals’ video, analyzing exactly what he had done wrong….what edge he had allowed the kid to have over him.  He vowed to never let that be the reason he lost again.

About a week ago, I had Abe attend a preview day at our local college.  He spent time with college wrestlers and other college kids; he regained his confidence.  He is now excited about his first visit to a Division 1 university.

Abe is an average student.  He is much smarter than his grades show.  He is an awesome test-taker.  Above all, he is an accomplished athlete.  Wrestling has not overshadowed Abe’s education.  Rather, it has developed the best of character in a young man.  Character of

HONOR

MOTIVATION

TENACITY

DETERMINATION.

This character will guide Abe to success, for he will never give up.

He believes he can do anything!  And he will!

Determination
Dream big, set goals, and take action!

This weekend is the next road on the journey to his dreams.  This is the action part.  Let’s do this, son!

Motivation
Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.

*This blog is dedicated to Matt Walters, who now rides on the wings of angels.  Matt, who never had the opportunities Abe has had.  We will always remember and honor Matt and thank the Lord for allowing us a new opportunity each day.  If only we all lived like we were dying!*

On a final note, when Abe was a very young boy–maybe 4 years old–his favorite song to sing on the way to school every day was “Live Like You Were Dying.”  He doesn’t remember that, but I do .  He does live life in that way….still!

More to come after the visit….

All the best,

Christy

Song of Sapelo Sunset

 

 

 

 


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Goal Setting with Teens: 5 Principles & 5 Aspects to Preparing for a Bright Future

Goal Setting with Teens.png

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In my last blog, “Where Did My Baby Go? 4 Ways to Deal with Raising Teens…and Still Love Them,” one tip was goal setting.

Goal setting is a lifelong skill that will guide your child through the darkest of situations.

Goals give hope.  Goals give light at the end of that deep, dark tunnel.  Goals give focus.  Goals motivate and inspire.  Goals achieve results.

Our children will one day be on their own…if they are not already.  When they are, they need to have the tool of goal setting in their “toolbelts.”  Dr. Edwin Locke, an American psychologist and pioneer in goal-setting theory, and his research partner, Dr. Gary Latham, surmised 5 principles for setting goals:

  1. Clarity
  2. Challenge
  3. Commitment
  4. Feedback
  5. Task complexity

CLARITY

clarity-goal

Help your teen set clear, attainable goals.  Everyone needs to see positive results.  Have your teen write down his goals.  Putting it in writing helps make it clearer.

CHALLENGE

Challenge-goals

Help your teen set goals that will challenge him….ones that will make him reach for his full potential.  Challenge involves risk.  A small amount of risk is healthy.  Risk and challenge involve uncertainty, and this can be alarming to a teen. Help him to set challenging goals and follow through to the end result so that he can see the awesome benefits of meeting the challenging goal.

COMMITMENT

COMMITMENT-GOALS

Help your child set goals and stay committed to them.  Never give up.  There is always a way, under, or around, or through.  Sometimes the challenging road to success is littered with potholes and detours, but commitment shows true grit, especially as the goals become more challenging.  Teach your teen to never give up!

FEEDBACK

FEEDBACK-GOALSConstructive criticism is a tough bullet for some people to bite.  Teach your teen how to look at the “man in the mirror” and make true assessments of their current situation.  Have they reached their goal?  If the goal has not been met, what are issues standing in the way, and what are steps to take to successfully meet the goal this time?  Teach him how to accept the feedback of others and how to use this as a gauge of genuine success or failure.

TASK COMPLEXITYTASKCOMPLEXITY--GOALS

Ensure your teen has adequate time to complete complex tasks and meet his goal.  If stress or frustration arise, sit down with your teen, and take an inventory of the current situation, analyzing where things went wrong and determining how to fix these issues.  If necessary, especially in the beginning, break up more complex tasks into smaller chunks so that your teen sees and feels some success along the way.  What is more frustrating than feeling like you’re spinning your wheels in a million directions!

 

SMART Goals

Locke also coined the idea of SMART goals.

S—Specific

M—Measurable

A—Attainable

R—Relevant

T—Time-bound


Have your teen honestly ask himself the following questions regarding the goal:

  1. Is the goal specific?
  2. Is the goal measurable?
  3. Is this goal attainable?
  4. Is this goal relevant in his life?
  5. Are the time constraints for this goal realistic?

Begin with baby steps, even in middle school, especially in middle school, and gradually increase the levels of goals you help your teen set.  In the end, your child, his future wife, his future boss, his future children, etc., will all thank you for teaching him effective goal setting strategy.  Goal setting leads to great success in all areas of life.  While you’re at it, what are your goals for the next 6 months?  The next year?  The next 5 years? The next decade?  You are never too old to set goals.  Reach for the sky!

 

All the best as we reach for our goals,

Christy

Song of Sapelo Sunset

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