5 things kids teach us about determination

happy-childThis morning, during the usual insane morning routine of getting five people to slurp down smoothies, scarf down oatmeal and stuff down toast, at one point I realized my daughter was wearing leggings with a hole in the butt. Her flowered underwear poking through saying “look at me world!”

When I told her she wasn’t going to school like that and she had to change, of course the typical negotiation ensued.

“But mom, I love these leggings.”


“But mom, these are my last clean pair. You haven’t done laundry in like two weeks.”

(Kinda true, but that didn’t mean she was going to school with a beacon on her behind.) “No way.”

“Come on mom. It’s not that big of a hole.”

“Not going to happen, my love.”

“If I change, it will take too long and I’ll be late for the bus.”

“Believe me. You’ve got time.”

“Please mom. I’ll just cover it with my shirt.” (which of course instantly rides up the seconds she pulls it down.)

“Nice try.”

Pause…wheels in her head spinning at full speed.

“What if I put shorts over top.”

Hmmm, she might have something there.

I relent. “OK. I guess that’s fine. Just cover up that butt!”

As I sat back and finished my oatmeal, I couldn’t help but be impressed by her problem-solving ability and more importantly, her determination. She so badly wanted to wear those pants that she focused all of her energy on finding a solution. She wasn’t going to take no for an answer. She would find a way…and she did.

Napoleon Hill calls this having a burning desire and making a definite plan. Kids have burning desires down pat. When they get focused on wanting something, any parent knows how friggin’ hard it is to convince them otherwise. But the incredible thing, is watching a child work her way through a problem to come up with a solution. My daughter has always been a master at that.

For some of us who settle, or give up too easily, or take the easy road – which is probably all of us at certain times in our lives – think about or watch children in action. We could all use a little of their moxie.

5 things kids do we could all learn from:

  1. When you don’t succeed the first time, try again…and again…and again.
  2. When you hear the word ‘no’ (100 times), don’t care what other people say. It’s not about them.
  3. Have total clarity on what you want. It’s easier not to get distracted.
  4. Stay focused; want it so badly that nothing else around you matters.
  5. Be creative. There is always more than one way to solve a problem.

Successful people in this world do all of these same things. They are clear about the goal. They stay focused on the goal. The make a plan to reach the goal, but are able to adapt if need be, and they don’t stop until they’ve achieved the goal.

It’s in all of us. So embrace your inner child…as long as you cover your butt!

Must write or beware my inner wolf

Some days – OK, most days – OK, every day – all I want to do is write. It’s my simple desire. I yearn for it. My heart pumps faster just thinking about it. My brain swirls with thoughts, ideas, and possibilities for new composition. Just knowing a chance is coming to sit down and let my fingers begin their dance, my soul arouses as everything I look at, hear, smell, read, digest, becomes fodder for my next creation. I am titillated in anticipation of what will come. (Hee hee, I used ‘aroused’ and ‘titillated’ right after each other – even though I spelled the latter wrong the first time.)

The reason I’m reflecting on this right now is because I don’t always get the luxury to write to my heart’s content. I mean, it’s already been 10 days since my last post, which bugs me. The thing is, in order to write, I sometimes have to be stealthy and cunning, like a wolf stalking its prey. Because even though I am a writer, I also have two other important vocations: a wife and mother. Each of which come with their own supplementary job titles we’ve all heard before: lover, breadwinner, nurse, shopper, gardener, pool cleaner, taxi driver, social worker, chef, and more. Some of these jobs I do well, others with varying levels of success (hopefully the lover part isn’t a fail! – hmm, what’s with the sex talk today?!)

Gray wolf from www.all-about-wolves.comAnyway (I say as I give my head a shake) I would not be the writer nor the woman I am today without the gifts I gratefully receive from these two other parts of me. Being a wife teaches me commitment, loyalty, depth of friendship, forgiveness, and true connection. Being a mother reminds me to be present, nimble, responsive, loving and patient. The trick becomes finding time to be the wife, the mother, the writer and just Andrea at the “right” times, and that, my friends, becomes a delicate dance even the wolf must master so as not to scare away his next meal.

I’m not always that good at it. My attempt at stealth is sometimes too conspicuous and ill timed. Sometimes, I stupidly think it’s enough if I have my laptop on my lap (aptly named), my eyes clearly fixed on the screen before me, my wrists poised on the keyboard, my fingers tapping in rhythm, that those around me will glean I’m trying to write, and perhaps avoid approaching and head for safety. But, I’ve been a mother for over 10 years now and a wife for over 12, I should know not to be surprised by any “out-of-the-blue, suddenly-urgent, I-have-to-ask-you-this-right-now-or-the-world-will-crumble-and-we-will-all-die-a-horrible-suffering-death-because-you-aren’t-paying-attention-to-me” moments from either husband or children that conflict with what I’ve attempted to deem as writing time. I should know, but too easily I forget and leave myself out in the open and exposed.

Maybe you think I’m being dramatic using the wolf analogy, but I actually did growl at my husband on the weekend after his 5th question to me related to whether I was still planning on trimming the hedge, or if I could help him fix the gate, or if there would be time that day to go out and get some beer. I can’t even remember what it was about, and it doesn’t matter. What I do distinctly remember is the deep rumbling sound that started in my chest and was emitted in my throat as my lips snarled in the direction of my life partner: the wolf staking claim to her fresh kill as an intruder nears. I felt utter exasperation by yet another interruption, and it brimmed over. In my head I thought, “Are you kidding me with this? Can you not clearly see the brilliance oozing forth at this moment with every inspired fingertip touch to the keyboard?” I guess the profundity of the words I was so beautifully weaving together at the time were not transcendent enough to touch his soul – only mine. Ultimately it’s my fault for not pre-defining to my loved ones what “writing time” means: stay away or beware my inner canine.

Writing is my escape. It’s my discovery. I’m literally sitting here grinning as I type these words. I’m not kidding, and I don’t even know if this is a decent post. It might suck. The world may not be shifted in the least because of these reflections I’m sharing right now but I don’t care! At this moment, I simply don’t care because I am elated to be typing here with a goofy grin on my face, in an quiet sleepy house (aside from my sleeping dog who at any moment could destroy the quiet part of this description by jolting awake in a barking frenzy at some random sound that likely only took place in her head). Ah, the zen of it all.

So I know I have to hone my hunting skills because if writing gets tossed to the bottom of the Andrea pile, my wolf will begin to starve and who knows who will be her next prey.