One day a teacher told us that one of our sons was uncoordinated and not good at sport. In fact, he said we should lower our expectations for his athletic future. Well, that was like a red rag to a bull! No one tells me my child can’t do something and to lower my parental bar!
I was going to make sure our son shone like no other star shone before. It was not just a matter of proving the teacher wrong – well perhaps a little – it was more about teaching our son that he could soar to great heights and achieve what perhaps others thought impossible.
We spent the next several weeks preparing for his school cross country race. Every afternoon I collected the children from school and headed directly to the local park to train.
The big day arrived. My husband took the day off work to give some last minute coaching tips. “Don’t look back, don’t finish with anything left, just focus on crossing that finishing line first!”
I felt exhausted already as I hugged my heavily pregnant tummy watching the race! He needed to win to increase his level of confidence and self-efficacy. The race took about 20 minutes – the longest 20 minutes I have experienced – except perhaps for childbirth!
With eyes scanning for a glimpse of our son I finally saw a lone figure running toward the finishing line. Tears filled my eyes as he sprinted down the final straight, crossed the line and fell into the arms of his father. My husband lifted him triumphantly onto his shoulders as they waited for the other runners left in his wake. We were so proud. As the years have passed he has always tried to keep the bar high, believe in himself, and never say never. As a result he went on to win many more races in life and not just on the sporting field but intellectually, humanly and spiritually. All he needed was a helping hand and a little hope.
Hope is part of a person’s belief in their individual capacities. Hope Theory was developed as part of the field of positive psychology which recognizes and capitalizes on a person’s strengths. It broadens capacities, sets goals and challenges ways of thinking to help a person reach their potential. Our son not only needed to pursue his goals but be guided and encouraged to achieve them.
A person’s ability to grow in self-esteem and self-efficacy depends on the quality of attachment they experience in infancy, childhood and adolescence. Based on Attachment Theory, individuals who are more securely attached have greater understanding of the meaning and purpose of life.
Maintaining meaning and purpose especially as we age has been shown to increase happiness, wellbeing, and longevity. Erickson’s psychological model of human development describes what is needed in each stage of life. Many models of aging focus on losses such as health, cognition, and death but Erickson’s wife at the age of 93 talks in terms of gains and as “a process of becoming free”.
Technology can play an important roll in keeping people physically and mentally fit at all ages increasing levels of longevity and decreasing levels of loneliness. Take part in an innovative and magical physical education class given by one of my sons during the Covid19 lockdown.
Or, if that is too intense, try working out with the video below to stay happy and healthy as we get a little older.